Witham: Level crossing to be upgraded - in 17 years

Braintree and Witham Times: Kelvedon train station Kelvedon train station

A level crossing where a man survived being hit by a train is to have full barriers - but not for another 17 years.

The crossing in Church Lane, Kelvedon, has half barriers, flashing lights, signs and a pedestrian gate.

In July 2011, Tony Winskill escaped with grazes after a train travelling at 100mph clipped the front of his mobility scooter.

Witham and Braintree Rail Users Association have campaigned for it to be made safer since the accident.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Reviewing safety at level crossings is on ongoing process and when the level crossing at Church Lane is up for renewal around 2030, there is an intention to upgrade it to full-barriers.

“In the meantime, we are looking at other safety improvements such as improved signage and automatic number plate recognition cameras to act as a deterrent.”

Comments (12)

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5:42pm Tue 29 Jan 13

James Abbott says...

This crossing used to have full barriers. A number of us who live locally objected many years ago to the installation of the half barriers because of safety concerns.

There should be a full investigation into all the automatic half barrier crossings on main lines as there have been many incidents, some fatal, across the country since they were introduced.

Getting rid of the staffed full barrier crossings was done to "save money", but it is a false economy if safety is put at risk.

Academic studies have shown that automatic crossings have the highest rates of fatality of any type of crossing.
This crossing used to have full barriers. A number of us who live locally objected many years ago to the installation of the half barriers because of safety concerns. There should be a full investigation into all the automatic half barrier crossings on main lines as there have been many incidents, some fatal, across the country since they were introduced. Getting rid of the staffed full barrier crossings was done to "save money", but it is a false economy if safety is put at risk. Academic studies have shown that automatic crossings have the highest rates of fatality of any type of crossing. James Abbott

7:09pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Essexadventure says...

As I recall the guy on the mobility scooter by his own admission ignored the lights and the barrier and drove across the crossing...that doesn't make the crossing unsafe!

James Abbott, I take it you also want a full investigation at all road junctions with traffic lights where there have been accidents with drivers jumping the lights?

It's not the crossing that's unsafe, it's the drivers using it!!
As I recall the guy on the mobility scooter by his own admission ignored the lights and the barrier and drove across the crossing...that doesn't make the crossing unsafe! James Abbott, I take it you also want a full investigation at all road junctions with traffic lights where there have been accidents with drivers jumping the lights? It's not the crossing that's unsafe, it's the drivers using it!! Essexadventure

7:19pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Arthur Fonzarelli says...

Level crossings are safe, the users are morons.
Level crossings are safe, the users are morons. Arthur Fonzarelli

9:02pm Tue 29 Jan 13

OMPITA [UK] says...

James Abbott wrote:
This crossing used to have full barriers. A number of us who live locally objected many years ago to the installation of the half barriers because of safety concerns.

There should be a full investigation into all the automatic half barrier crossings on main lines as there have been many incidents, some fatal, across the country since they were introduced.

Getting rid of the staffed full barrier crossings was done to "save money", but it is a false economy if safety is put at risk.

Academic studies have shown that automatic crossings have the highest rates of fatality of any type of crossing.
And would James be happy to pay the massive hike in fares required to fund the works necessary to make these crossings entirely Idiot Proof?

I fear that reversion to full barriers alone would not be a final solution - it would simply be a challenge to those amongst us who have a serious deficiency of grey matter.
[quote][p][bold]James Abbott[/bold] wrote: This crossing used to have full barriers. A number of us who live locally objected many years ago to the installation of the half barriers because of safety concerns. There should be a full investigation into all the automatic half barrier crossings on main lines as there have been many incidents, some fatal, across the country since they were introduced. Getting rid of the staffed full barrier crossings was done to "save money", but it is a false economy if safety is put at risk. Academic studies have shown that automatic crossings have the highest rates of fatality of any type of crossing.[/p][/quote]And would James be happy to pay the massive hike in fares required to fund the works necessary to make these crossings entirely Idiot Proof? I fear that reversion to full barriers alone would not be a final solution - it would simply be a challenge to those amongst us who have a serious deficiency of grey matter. OMPITA [UK]

12:05am Wed 30 Jan 13

James Abbott says...

Thanks Essexadventure and OMPITA

Surely we want every aspect of our transport systems to be as safe as possible ?

The fact is that there are more serious (including fatal) incidents at automatic half barrier crossings than any other type. I agree people can take chances, so the answer is to make the crossings less easy for them to take chances. Half barriers at a crossing where trains can go through at 100mph on the mainline is clearly a risk.

As to cost - have you any idea what the cost is to the public purse of fatal incidents ? Or to the families of those involved ?

As to the roads - yes, lets get them as safe as possible too. 3,000 people die every year on UK roads - totally unacceptable.
Thanks Essexadventure and OMPITA [UK] Surely we want every aspect of our transport systems to be as safe as possible ? The fact is that there are more serious (including fatal) incidents at automatic half barrier crossings than any other type. I agree people can take chances, so the answer is to make the crossings less easy for them to take chances. Half barriers at a crossing where trains can go through at 100mph on the mainline is clearly a risk. As to cost - have you any idea what the cost is to the public purse of fatal incidents ? Or to the families of those involved ? As to the roads - yes, lets get them as safe as possible too. 3,000 people die every year on UK roads - totally unacceptable. James Abbott

12:56am Wed 30 Jan 13

OMPITA [UK] says...

James, you are absolutely right to hanker for every aspect of the system to be as safe as possible. In the real world of course we have to accept a level that is as safe as is reasonably and practicably possible. That after all is what the much maligned and much misunderstood Health & Safety legislation is all about in any case.

No matter how much money is spent on isolating rail or road crossing hazards - for example even providing tunnels or bridges - there is always going to be a certain sub culture that will stubbornly bypass them and deliberately put themselves at risk.

These people should be ‘robustly discouraged’ by being taken to task each and every time they do it. If they can’t accept normal reasoning, then whack them so hard in the pocket that they are fearful of getting caught again and simply just don’t do it anymore.

If as a ‘civilised caring society’ we can routinely impose savage and unforgiving three figure fines on harmless octogenarians who suffer momentary lapses of memory and forget to display their ‘blue parking badges’ then I don’t see why we can’t ‘up the ante’ on these wilful cretins and relieve them of a corresponding four figure sum for each offence.

Indeed the money could then be channelled towards associated safety projects and the whole circle would have some vestige of moral substance and I am sure that the number of rail –and road- crossing incidents would plunge.

Please, anyone, don’t tell me I’d be infringing their human rights by not allowing them to ‘play chicken’ with an oncoming train or truck. I just couldn’t take it!
James, you are absolutely right to hanker for every aspect of the system to be as safe as possible. In the real world of course we have to accept a level that is as safe as is reasonably and practicably possible. That after all is what the much maligned and much misunderstood Health & Safety legislation is all about in any case. No matter how much money is spent on isolating rail or road crossing hazards - for example even providing tunnels or bridges - there is always going to be a certain sub culture that will stubbornly bypass them and deliberately put themselves at risk. These people should be ‘robustly discouraged’ by being taken to task each and every time they do it. If they can’t accept normal reasoning, then whack them so hard in the pocket that they are fearful of getting caught again and simply just don’t do it anymore. If as a ‘civilised caring society’ we can routinely impose savage and unforgiving three figure fines on harmless octogenarians who suffer momentary lapses of memory and forget to display their ‘blue parking badges’ then I don’t see why we can’t ‘up the ante’ on these wilful cretins and relieve them of a corresponding four figure sum for each offence. Indeed the money could then be channelled towards associated safety projects and the whole circle would have some vestige of moral substance and I am sure that the number of rail –and road- crossing incidents would plunge. Please, anyone, don’t tell me I’d be infringing their human rights by not allowing them to ‘play chicken’ with an oncoming train or truck. I just couldn’t take it! OMPITA [UK]

1:28am Wed 30 Jan 13

Boris says...

Replace all crossings with hump-back bridges and solve the problem for good.
Yes it would cost money but it would give work to a lot of people, and it would save a lot of money.
And - quite apart from the personal tragedy for each victim's family - there must be a colossal cost every time the trains are paralysed for 2 hours or so. Thousands of people miss appointments, train operators have to pay compensation, the train driver may have to have a lot of time off, or retire early, and no doubt many other things I haven't thought of.
So let's see a serious programme for replacing all these level crossings with bridges over the next few years.
Replace all crossings with hump-back bridges and solve the problem for good. Yes it would cost money but it would give work to a lot of people, and it would save a lot of money. And - quite apart from the personal tragedy for each victim's family - there must be a colossal cost every time the trains are paralysed for 2 hours or so. Thousands of people miss appointments, train operators have to pay compensation, the train driver may have to have a lot of time off, or retire early, and no doubt many other things I haven't thought of. So let's see a serious programme for replacing all these level crossings with bridges over the next few years. Boris

9:24am Wed 30 Jan 13

romantic says...

The problem is that some people jump the lights, as I believe happened with the guy in the mobility scooter. Having full barriers takes away that option. This crossing is on a very busy line, and I´m sure it used to have full barriers. I cannot believe it would cost so very much to upgrade them.

There must be literally thousands of crossings in the country, and they do rely on people having the sense not to try to cross when lights are flashing and barriers down.

I´m not sure if it would be feasible to build a bridge over each and every one. Just thinking about the crossings at East Gates and Hythe Station, the gradient would need to be OK for buses and trucks to tackle, so you would probably need a bridge extending 30 metres each side. That would create huge upheaval and cost a lot of money.

But certainly crossings on major lines need to be full barrier, so there is not the option of trying to weave through.
The problem is that some people jump the lights, as I believe happened with the guy in the mobility scooter. Having full barriers takes away that option. This crossing is on a very busy line, and I´m sure it used to have full barriers. I cannot believe it would cost so very much to upgrade them. There must be literally thousands of crossings in the country, and they do rely on people having the sense not to try to cross when lights are flashing and barriers down. I´m not sure if it would be feasible to build a bridge over each and every one. Just thinking about the crossings at East Gates and Hythe Station, the gradient would need to be OK for buses and trucks to tackle, so you would probably need a bridge extending 30 metres each side. That would create huge upheaval and cost a lot of money. But certainly crossings on major lines need to be full barrier, so there is not the option of trying to weave through. romantic

11:29am Wed 30 Jan 13

OMPITA [UK] says...

Boris wrote:
Replace all crossings with hump-back bridges and solve the problem for good.
Yes it would cost money but it would give work to a lot of people, and it would save a lot of money.
And - quite apart from the personal tragedy for each victim's family - there must be a colossal cost every time the trains are paralysed for 2 hours or so. Thousands of people miss appointments, train operators have to pay compensation, the train driver may have to have a lot of time off, or retire early, and no doubt many other things I haven't thought of.
So let's see a serious programme for replacing all these level crossings with bridges over the next few years.
Humped back bridges would no doubt offer an improvement vis-á-vis protecting morons from being hit by trains, but their closely related kin who drive like maniacs would perhaps cause even more mayhem with high speed collisions caused through lack of visibility of oncoming traffic.

Humped back bridges might have suited queen Maud – Henry the first’s missus – and the local carters when she ordered one of the first in England to be built following her unfortunate encounter in the River Lee at Stratford nine hundred years ago, but they are hardly apposite for today’s traffic conditions.

As a minimum I am sure the long gentle rise and decline flyover type crossing would be called for. Then in order to counter another breed of brainless underclass they would have to be fully enclosed to prevent the drongos chucking bricks; supermarket trolleys; and –wishful thinking - each other into the path of oncoming trains.

Just imagine the outcry from the NIMBYs who saw the values of their properties diminished by the appearance of such monstrosities alongside their bedroom windows and cottage gardens!

Let’s face it, it just isn’t going to happen. Let people take responsibility for their own negligent actions and that includes coughing up the full cost of reparations when notwithstanding the plethora of warnings, they still choose to ignore all advice and it simply ends in tears.

As a minimum they should pay the full costs of all medical treatment and other emergency services’ expenditure – plus VAT!
[quote][p][bold]Boris[/bold] wrote: Replace all crossings with hump-back bridges and solve the problem for good. Yes it would cost money but it would give work to a lot of people, and it would save a lot of money. And - quite apart from the personal tragedy for each victim's family - there must be a colossal cost every time the trains are paralysed for 2 hours or so. Thousands of people miss appointments, train operators have to pay compensation, the train driver may have to have a lot of time off, or retire early, and no doubt many other things I haven't thought of. So let's see a serious programme for replacing all these level crossings with bridges over the next few years.[/p][/quote]Humped back bridges would no doubt offer an improvement vis-á-vis protecting morons from being hit by trains, but their closely related kin who drive like maniacs would perhaps cause even more mayhem with high speed collisions caused through lack of visibility of oncoming traffic. Humped back bridges might have suited queen Maud – Henry the first’s missus – and the local carters when she ordered one of the first in England to be built following her unfortunate encounter in the River Lee at Stratford nine hundred years ago, but they are hardly apposite for today’s traffic conditions. As a minimum I am sure the long gentle rise and decline flyover type crossing would be called for. Then in order to counter another breed of brainless underclass they would have to be fully enclosed to prevent the drongos chucking bricks; supermarket trolleys; and –wishful thinking - each other into the path of oncoming trains. Just imagine the outcry from the NIMBYs who saw the values of their properties diminished by the appearance of such monstrosities alongside their bedroom windows and cottage gardens! Let’s face it, it just isn’t going to happen. Let people take responsibility for their own negligent actions and that includes coughing up the full cost of reparations when notwithstanding the plethora of warnings, they still choose to ignore all advice and it simply ends in tears. As a minimum they should pay the full costs of all medical treatment and other emergency services’ expenditure – plus VAT! OMPITA [UK]

2:07pm Thu 31 Jan 13

inexileinessex says...

Hold on a mo..!!

I Believe Queen Maud was the daughter of Henry 1st not his wife….and the river Lea doesent run through Stratford.
The incident with the bridge happened at what is now Bow…a bridge was built over the Lea & was the first type of Bow Bridge ever built, hence the name of the District being called Bow…

Sorry thought I’d clear that up.
Hold on a mo..!! I Believe Queen Maud was the daughter of Henry 1st not his wife….and the river Lea doesent run through Stratford. The incident with the bridge happened at what is now Bow…a bridge was built over the Lea & was the first type of Bow Bridge ever built, hence the name of the District being called Bow… Sorry thought I’d clear that up. inexileinessex

9:42pm Sat 2 Feb 13

OMPITA [UK] says...

inexileinessex wrote:
Hold on a mo..!!

I Believe Queen Maud was the daughter of Henry 1st not his wife….and the river Lea doesent run through Stratford.
The incident with the bridge happened at what is now Bow…a bridge was built over the Lea & was the first type of Bow Bridge ever built, hence the name of the District being called Bow…

Sorry thought I’d clear that up.
Appreciate the comment inexileinessex.

I’m no historian and wouldn’t try to claim to be one.

However, my very limited research led me to some material that showed that ‘Stratford’ was the contemporary name for the area at large when the first Bow Bridge was built. Also Queen Matilda wife of Henry 1st was also referred to as Maud - maybe as an affectionate derivative of her ‘proper’ name Matilda perhaps?

The references make fascinating reading.

They are:
http://www.british-h
istory.ac.uk/report.
aspx?compid=45448

&

http://historyofstra
tford.co.uk/Stratfor
dHistory/History%20o
f%20Bow%20Bridge.sht
ml
[quote][p][bold]inexileinessex[/bold] wrote: Hold on a mo..!! I Believe Queen Maud was the daughter of Henry 1st not his wife….and the river Lea doesent run through Stratford. The incident with the bridge happened at what is now Bow…a bridge was built over the Lea & was the first type of Bow Bridge ever built, hence the name of the District being called Bow… Sorry thought I’d clear that up.[/p][/quote]Appreciate the comment inexileinessex. I’m no historian and wouldn’t try to claim to be one. However, my very limited research led me to some material that showed that ‘Stratford’ was the contemporary name for the area at large when the first Bow Bridge was built. Also Queen Matilda wife of Henry 1st was also referred to as Maud - maybe as an affectionate derivative of her ‘proper’ name Matilda perhaps? The references make fascinating reading. They are: http://www.british-h istory.ac.uk/report. aspx?compid=45448 & http://historyofstra tford.co.uk/Stratfor dHistory/History%20o f%20Bow%20Bridge.sht ml OMPITA [UK]

11:33pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Boris says...

OMPITA wrote:
inexileinessex wrote:
Hold on a mo..!!

I Believe Queen Maud was the daughter of Henry 1st not his wife….and the river Lea doesent run through Stratford.
The incident with the bridge happened at what is now Bow…a bridge was built over the Lea & was the first type of Bow Bridge ever built, hence the name of the District being called Bow…

Sorry thought I’d clear that up.
Appreciate the comment inexileinessex.

I’m no historian and wouldn’t try to claim to be one.

However, my very limited research led me to some material that showed that ‘Stratford’ was the contemporary name for the area at large when the first Bow Bridge was built. Also Queen Matilda wife of Henry 1st was also referred to as Maud - maybe as an affectionate derivative of her ‘proper’ name Matilda perhaps?

The references make fascinating reading.

They are:
http://www.british-h

istory.ac.uk/report.

aspx?compid=45448

&

http://historyofstra

tford.co.uk/Stratfor

dHistory/History%20o

f%20Bow%20Bridge.sht

ml
Thanks to both of you for the historical discussion - much more interesting than bridges or level crossings.
.
As for the hump-back bridges, I only suggested them in order to reduce the cost and the impact on the local area. If health and safety dictate that the slope should be long and slow on each side, then so be it.
.
As for making people responsible for the cost of making good the damage they cause, that is not going to work. Most drivers of invalidity scooters are uninsured, and even if they are insured, it will only be for a few million pounds. Now imagine the aforementioned idiot actually succeeding in killing himself by derailing a train with multiple deaths among the passengers. The insurance cover would not be enough. This is why it is actually worth spending money making these crossings as idiot-proof as possible.
[quote][p][bold]OMPITA [UK][/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]inexileinessex[/bold] wrote: Hold on a mo..!! I Believe Queen Maud was the daughter of Henry 1st not his wife….and the river Lea doesent run through Stratford. The incident with the bridge happened at what is now Bow…a bridge was built over the Lea & was the first type of Bow Bridge ever built, hence the name of the District being called Bow… Sorry thought I’d clear that up.[/p][/quote]Appreciate the comment inexileinessex. I’m no historian and wouldn’t try to claim to be one. However, my very limited research led me to some material that showed that ‘Stratford’ was the contemporary name for the area at large when the first Bow Bridge was built. Also Queen Matilda wife of Henry 1st was also referred to as Maud - maybe as an affectionate derivative of her ‘proper’ name Matilda perhaps? The references make fascinating reading. They are: http://www.british-h istory.ac.uk/report. aspx?compid=45448 & http://historyofstra tford.co.uk/Stratfor dHistory/History%20o f%20Bow%20Bridge.sht ml[/p][/quote]Thanks to both of you for the historical discussion - much more interesting than bridges or level crossings. . As for the hump-back bridges, I only suggested them in order to reduce the cost and the impact on the local area. If health and safety dictate that the slope should be long and slow on each side, then so be it. . As for making people responsible for the cost of making good the damage they cause, that is not going to work. Most drivers of invalidity scooters are uninsured, and even if they are insured, it will only be for a few million pounds. Now imagine the aforementioned idiot actually succeeding in killing himself by derailing a train with multiple deaths among the passengers. The insurance cover would not be enough. This is why it is actually worth spending money making these crossings as idiot-proof as possible. Boris

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