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RAIB report on collision with car at Jetty Ave UWC

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RAIB report on collision with car at Jetty Ave UWC

Unread postby Andrew Waugh » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:37 am

This has been released... http://www.raib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/141215_R282014_Jetty_Avenue_UWC.pdf

In my view there was no safe way for a road vehicle to cross at this crossing except by being piloted across. Obstructions caused by fencing of the adjacent land, vegetation, the UWC gate itself and signs on the gate, meant that by the time the driver could be expected to see the train, the car would already be foul of the line.

I was also staggered by the core assumption that any user of a UWC would have been briefed by the authorised user of the crossing as they would have been 'invited' to use the crossing. Clearly a legal fiction, albeit hallowed by long standing practice.

Really, you have two choices. Either the road driver can see the required distance from where they stop to make a decision. If it is not possible to provide this view, then you must provide warning of approaching trains. There is no other safe way.
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Re: RAIB report on collision with car at Jetty Ave UWC

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:03 pm

The report seems to agree with you "The RAIB investigation has found that instructions given to car drivers using this, and similar, level crossings were inadequate. It also found that Network Rail’s method for ensuring that vehicle drivers have an adequate view of approaching trains was incompatible with the characteristics of both the car involved in the accident and many of the vehicles expected to use crossings of this type."

It does seem unreasonable to expect the landowners to escort users across, although if I have understood it correctly they aimed to do this on their own initiative. The report gives me the impression that for once they, including the motorist involved, were more aware of the risk than the railway were.

The official definition of large/slow moving includes "less than 5mph". I'm not sure that I would accept that a car with a trailer is necessarily going to do 5 mph in a location like this; I suspect a driver with a cautious nature or lacking in experience with trailers might well drive unduly slowly over a crossing, as he might over a speed bump. Given the outward opening gates and very poor visibility, a cautious driver appreciating the risk would return to his car, then draw forward slowly to a point where he can see further along the railway. He might well misjudge the fouling point, but when he saw an approaching train his trailer could then cause him difficulty reversing clear. Whilst probably not the case with the driver involved, inexperience with trailers is likely to be more of a risk at leisure spots such as boating or caravan/camping venues. It might even be safer with a "boy racer" - at least you're not on the crossing for as long!

On the other hand tractor drivers are generally much higher and can often see over obstacles such as hedges.


I am intrigued by the mention of this experimental "Wave" system to control red lights (unfortunately not in use at the time) which I have not heard of before. What advantage is anticipated over a treadle or track circuit - reliability, less vulnerability to damage, cost? It is sound operated To be effective, it has to detect the train without giving false warning because of wind noise, cattle lowing etc. How is this achieved - some sort of intelligent analysis of sound frequencies? By the noise of approaching trains? Perhaps by the train whistle, relying on the driver to obey the whistle board, which he did not do on this occasion. This system is not considered as being part of the signalling system - why not, when wig-wags and miniature warning lights normally are? Is it fail-safe?
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Re: RAIB report on collision with car at Jetty Ave UWC

Unread postby scarpa » Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:49 pm

I think the way forward for these User Worked Crossings is Warning lights .Instead of having one light unit on the left of the crossing an additional
Light unit on the right hand side of the crossing,afterall most cars are right hand driven and for sighting purposes the additional light unit would be
better placed.With LED .signals now available an improved larger light unit would be advantageous and yodal alarms operative.
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Re: RAIB report on collision with car at Jetty Ave UWC

Unread postby edwin_m » Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:55 pm

I'm guessing the "Wave" system would detect vibrations in the rails. The report said it wasn't reliable because it was confused by trains stopping at the station.
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Re: RAIB report on collision with car at Jetty Ave UWC

Unread postby ex Probationer » Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:04 am

Mike Hodgson wrote:
I am intrigued by the mention of this experimental "Wave" system to control red lights (unfortunately not in use at the time) which I have not heard of before. What advantage is anticipated over a treadle or track circuit - reliability, less vulnerability to damage, cost? It is sound operated To be effective, it has to detect the train without giving false warning because of wind noise, cattle lowing etc. How is this achieved - some sort of intelligent analysis of sound frequencies? By the noise of approaching trains? This system is not considered as being part of the signalling system - why not, when wig-wags and miniature warning lights normally are? Is it fail-safe?


Well, here is a YouTube video http://youtu.be/Jufmvg7v2yM from the WaveTrain Systems website: http://wavetrain.no/products/

The WTS LC system appears to have Network Rail Product Approval.http://wavetrain.no/article/product-approval-uk/

The WTS LC system was installed at Jetty Ave UWC and the lights were left 'bagged-up'. I don't think it was ever fully commissioned and the lights have since been removed. [Edit 19/12/2014 - The trackside equipment is still in place]

I understand a working WTS crossing is in use on the Anglia Route at Whitehouse/Priory View Level Crossing near West Runton on the Cromer to Sheringham Line. Have any others been commissioned?
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