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Katier

Level crossing stupidity...

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1 hour ago, phil-b259 said:

 

Its important not to confuse railway 'tramways' (which were typically built to serve industry or connect to docks) with those tramways built in roads by local authorities or private enterprises in urban areas as a form of mass transit.

 

Railway 'tramways' were built using a different legislative path and the inclusion of the term in the authorising acts was more cosmetic than anything (note the authorising act permitting the railways construction would specify the exact details of any operating restrictions, etc

 

Tramways in Manchester, Croydon etc may look all swish and modern but the legislation which governs them has its roots in that which permitted the introduction or urban tramways in our cities over a century ago. This worked on the basis of 'drive on sight' with the onus on the tram driver not to hit anything in the same way as the driver of a horse and cart of the period would be expected to keep control of his vehicle / animal.

 

Yes traffic lights have made things easier, but fundamentally its still up to the road user to drive appropriately regardless of whether the vehicle has rubber tyres or metal wheels and rails.

 

As you say trams are expected to have the same or better stopping abilities than a rubber tyred road vehicles but this is derived from them using the public highway - not because of the word 'tramway' as such

On the first point, correct, although many of those that were in docks and industrial estates were almost certainly not on the public highway, but in private roads belonging to the dock or industrial estate owners and to which the public had access for legitimate purposes.

 

The legal position of "tramways" is an interesting one. The majority of first generation systems were covered by the 1870 Tramways Act; all of the second generation systems were built until specific Acts, in which, interestingly, they are referred to as "railways", as in "Railway No. 1 etc" for the purposes of defining the alignment and limits of deviation within which the powers of the Act could be exercised. That doesn't mean that they are legally railways, but as far as I could find out, is simply the result of antiquated parliamentary phraseology, going back to the days when the predecessors of railways were canals. The 1870 Act still appears from time to time as references in the more modern Acts, a particularly problematic one being its reference to the rails being level with the road surface without actually having defined what its originators meant by "level" (which was that  they should not be laid on the road surface, as had been the case with a number of very early tramways). Otherwise, the 1870 Act is largely a matter of history when it comes to modern tramways.

 

Tramways, in the urban transit sense, are generally operated under line of sight rules, although this does not apply to the Bury or Altrincham branches of Metrolink, which are operated as signalled railways. A distinct difference with regard to tramway/highway crossings is that usually the tram will call the traffic signals as it approaches and get a clear run through, with the resukt that the period between the road signal going red and the tram crossing is much shorter than has become the case for railways. It taes a little time time, but "white van man" does eventually get the message that the sort of chances you can take on a railway level crossing because of their design cannot be taken when it comes to a tram crossing. And the tram almost inevitably comes of far better than the road vehicle.

 

Trams do not have better stopping abillities than road vehicles, although they are close to being on a par with a heavy goods vehicle. They do have a much better deceleration than a train, not least due to magnetic track brakes being a normal fitment, and the achievable braking rate is a compromise between trying to meet rubber tyred vehicles and not injuring the passengers. The requirements for tramcars are enshrined in the recommendations and guidance issued by that part of the ORR that constitutes the Railway Inspectorate, and tramways and the ability to take them into use remained one of the few things where the formal approval of the Secretary of State for Transport was still required (albeit normally exercised by the Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways).

 

Jim

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6 minutes ago, Coryton said:

 

And the reason that signals at the crossing work for trams is because they can stop much more quickly than a train. Thank you, that was rather my point on railway approach speeds and signal locations, where there may be a traffic conflict.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by expecting to stop before they proceed though - trams don't have to stop at a road crossing if they have a proceed signal, or if it is unsignalled and they have priority.  Thank you again for emphasising my point - if they have a "stop", they have NO priority and have to stop!  When Trams approach a crossing, they do so at a speed which accounts for a signal on the junction, at stop or off and therefore at a speed which will allow for a stop.  Railway signals are placed at a {far} distance, which will allow for the train to stop - should the crossing barriers not be set against the road traffic.  But there is no provision for cautionary speeds to the approach to the crossing, suffice to enable a stop before striking any obstruction.

 

I suppose if you want to cripple large parts of the railway network that would be as good a way as any.  In the first place, I'm not convinced that cautious approach speeds to road crossings would "Cripple" large parts of the railway network.  In the second place, it would prevent some [of the less informed - to - idiots] people from being damaged and the rail loco drivers suffering the long term effects of the collision.

 

There are plenty of places in the UK where there is no way that level crossings could be replaced without closing a railway line or causing unacceptable disruption to road traffic.  Really?  I can see a whole load more where solutions have been found, so road and rail traffic may now proceed  without interaction.  In those few places remaining, where for some extraordinary circumstance, an alternative may be not available, suitable train approach signalling could easily slow the trains on the approach, so that the driver could stop, should some idiot .there be an obstruction on the crossing

 

I would argue that while a full barrier crossing with obstacle detection is a nuisance to road traffic, it's a lot safer than other dangers on the roads.  True, but much improved without the traffic conflict in the first place.

 

Regards

 

J

 

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13 minutes ago, jcredfer said:

Railway signals are placed at a {far} distance, which will allow for the train to stop - should the crossing barriers not be set against the road traffic.  But there is no provision for cautionary speeds to the approach to the crossing, suffice to enable a stop before striking any obstruction.

 

Perhaps we're at cross-purposes here, but there are plenty of level crossings on National Rail which do rely on the train driver to check that the crossing is clear before passing over the crossing, and where the train has to approach at a suitably slow speed in order to do so.

 

13 minutes ago, jcredfer said:

I suppose if you want to cripple large parts of the railway network that would be as good a way as any.  In the first place, I'm not convinced that cautious approach speeds to road crossings would "Cripple" large parts of the railway network.  In the second place, it would prevent some [of the less informed - to - idiots] people from being damaged and the rail loco drivers suffering the long term effects of the collision.

 

Well of course it would reduce risk. And again maybe I've misunderstood, but if you're suggesting slowing down trains at every level crossing in the UK to speeds at which they could be stopped short of an obstruction, that would have an enormous impact both on travel times and capacity. Slowing down a 125 mph service to a crawl for a level crossing isn't really practical.

 

13 minutes ago, jcredfer said:

 

There are plenty of places in the UK where there is no way that level crossings could be replaced without closing a railway line or causing unacceptable disruption to road traffic.  Really?  I can see a whole load more where solutions have been found, so road and rail traffic may now proceed  without interaction.  In those few places remaining, where for some extraordinary circumstance, an alternative may be not available, suitable train approach signalling could easily slow the trains on the approach, so that the driver could stop, should some idiot .there be an obstruction on the crossing

 

Well yes, but the level crossings that have been dealt with are the ones of course where it's practical. That doesn't mean that everywhere is so easy and there are many remaining where a bridge would be completely impractical so the only option would be to close the road entirely. And again, of course the crossing could be signalled to force trains to approach at a crawl, but not without a huge impact on services.

 

13 minutes ago, jcredfer said:

 

I would argue that while a full barrier crossing with obstacle detection is a nuisance to road traffic, it's a lot safer than other dangers on the roads.  True, but much improved without the traffic conflict in the first place.

 

Well yes but there is as usual a trade-off between risk and convenience and if I were going to spend money to save lives on roads I wouldn't start with closing level crossings. 

(Though it might be a good place to start to improve safety on the railways, given that they tend not to kill and maim their users on the same scale as road transport does).

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There were some tramways built under a light railway order, Southend-on-sea for example. 

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I wonder what the status of the trains that ran on some street tramways was, in amongst the trams?

e.g. Glasgow

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3 minutes ago, melmerby said:

I wonder what the status of the trains that ran on some street tramways was, in amongst the trams?

e.g. Glasgow

Good question. A lot would depend on the legal status. Some of the trains continued to use the tram tracks after the trams were replaced by trolleybuses but continued to draw power from the trolleybus overhead using twin poles.

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Posted (edited)

When I lived in Croydon as a kid, trolleybuses were still in operation, these had previously,( before my time) operated side by side with trams using the same overhead power , both services ( I assume) and the infrastructure, were run by London Transport, and long time arrangement with the local authority no doubt..

The corner of George st, here, some routes also used normal double decker motor buses too, I often used to catch the 109 with my gran !

_20190527_232930.JPG

Edited by Porkscratching
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2 hours ago, Coryton said:

 

I wasn't trying to base an argument on terminology (which is why I put "tramways" in quotes).

 

I was questioning the reasoning that a tram derives its right to be on a road by being legally considered a bus, given that full size trains used to get to drive through the streets of Weymouth, among other places.

 

 

 

Like I said its all down to the legislation! As any lawyer will tell you just because two things look the same doesn't mean the same laws apply to both.

 

Whilst it may have been called a 'tramway' the line down to Weymouth Quay was actually created via Railway legislation with the exemptions from railway norms specifically listed in the enabling act.

 

Most urban Tramway systems** were authorised under completely different legislation - namely the Tramways Act 1870*. This legislation is still in force and it has been used as the basis for the legislation which allowed the construction of the modern systems in Croydon, Manchester, etc.

 

* http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/33-34/78

 

** Some later extensions and a few new systems used powers obtained under the Light Railways Act 1896 while other legislative changes altered the rather restrictive provisions of the 1870 act to permit local authorities to construct and operate their own tramways outright rather than on a concession basis.

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Quote "Most urban Tramway systems** were authorised under completely different legislation - namely the Tramways Act 1870*. This legislation is still in force and it has been used as the basis for the legislation which allowed the construction of the modern systems in Croydon, Manchester, etc."

 

Considerable swathes of the 1870 Act were repealed by the Transport & Works Act, which effectively replaced it.

 

Jim 

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One obvious difference between the urban street tramway system and cases like Weymouth is that, on the former, trams run on an "as of right" type basis as normal vehicles in the street. OTOH, at Weymouth, I gather the passage of a train was something of an exceptional event, with the road being, effectively, closed to other moving traffic as the train passed, railway staff equipped with flags walking in advance, and, at least in later years, flashing lamps and whatnot on the train.

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Sorry, but imposing a restriction on every train approaching a level crossing so that it can stop in case of an obstruction is an utterly impractical suggestion, and imposes the cost and disruption caused by road user misuse or error on the rail industry.

 

There is a much simpler solution to achieving 100% level crossing safety (for trains at least), shut every single one and block the road with concrete blocks ! Access would be retained for pedestrians, cyclists and horses, as colliding with them is not likely to seriously endanger a train. OK, vehicle users would be inconvenienced by having to find another and probably longer route, but better that they should suffer than rail users.

 

Network Rail has been trying to reduce the risk at level crossings by closing them where possible, upgrading them (eg Kirknewton, which was converted from AHB to OD operation) or indeed building bridges (eg the infamous Ufton Nervet). However there are places where bridges would be so expensive as to be impractical, Logans Road and Cleghorn in Scotland being two such situations.

 

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You could achieve 100% safety for everyone (pedestrians, cyclist and horse riders included) by closing all the railway lines.  In the vast majority of cases, the roads and footpaths existed long before the railway.

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1 hour ago, eastglosmog said:

You could achieve 100% safety for everyone (pedestrians, cyclist and horse riders included) by closing all the railway lines.  In the vast majority of cases, the roads and footpaths existed long before the railway.

That'll soon thin out the population with all the road deaths, and far quicker than level crossings ever could......

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30 minutes ago, Davexoc said:

That'll soon thin out the population with all the road deaths, and far quicker than level crossings ever could......

 

Not if you also bring back the man* with a red flag walking in front of cars...

 

* Other genders are available

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16 minutes ago, Coryton said:

 

Not if you also bring back the man* with a red flag walking in front of cars...

 

* Other genders are available

Nine at the last count. :unsure: :jester: And no I don't know what they are. 

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7 minutes ago, PhilJ W said:

 

Going wildly off-topic here (but that's a good sign on this thread, right?), I offer this (which is, I believe, intended to be serious):

 

image.png.0241e568a62d45dd99804ea8cd5ad0ff.png

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47 minutes ago, Porkscratching said:

So does that mean its ok to flash your 'winkle' in front of the ladies now then..?..https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_wink.png

 

Have one, don't have one, will choose at some stage........

 

..............  meanwhile need to find a sign like this, 'cause I need a pee!!!

 

Regards

 

Julian

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15 hours ago, eastglosmog said:

You could achieve 100% safety for everyone (pedestrians, cyclist and horse riders included) by closing all the railway lines.  In the vast majority of cases, the roads and footpaths existed long before the railway.

 

Regarding the second sentence, that is certainly true, so does that mean that road traffic should have priority over rail at all such locations, and trains should stop to await a path across when the road is clear, or just slow down to avoid any possible collision, as suggested above ? BTW on the WCML there are five level crossings between Carlisle and Glasgow Central, so any such restriction certainly would cripple the train service.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, caradoc said:

 

Regarding the second sentence, that is certainly true, so does that mean that road traffic should have priority over rail at all such locations, and trains should stop to await a path across when the road is clear, or just slow down to avoid any possible collision, as suggested above ? BTW on the WCML there are five level crossings between Carlisle and Glasgow Central, so any such restriction certainly would cripple the train service.

 

 

No, but the onus is on the railway to make the crossing safe and maintain the right of users of the public highway to cross when it is safe to do so.  The level crossings were put in to save cost to the railway, not the highway user.  If you were to shut some of the crossings round here, you would cause considerable inconvenience to the locals.  So far as I know, the nearest level crossing has not had a fatal accident in the last 30 years (but then it does have a signal box controlling it).

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33 minutes ago, eastglosmog said:

No, but the onus is on the railway to make the crossing safe and maintain the right of users of the public highway to cross when it is safe to do so.  The level crossings were put in to save cost to the railway, not the highway user.  If you were to shut some of the crossings round here, you would cause considerable inconvenience to the locals.  So far as I know, the nearest level crossing has not had a fatal accident in the last 30 years (but then it does have a signal box controlling it).

 

Unlike roads, of course.

 

All a busy 70 mph dual carriageway needs to make a public footpath crossing it "safe" is two signs warning of pedestrians crossing ahead.

 

I'd take my chances on most railway foot crossings over that (but not all....) OK the train has even less of a chance of avoiding me than a car does...but there are generally safe gaps between trains to cross and (unless late at night) they sound their horns when they are coming.

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The Level Crossings ARE safe if used correctly, the problem isn't the railway or the crossings themselves, it's the users, whether they be pedestrians, cyclists or motor vehicle drivers. If we all travelled by Public Transport the world would be a much safer place.

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