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Level crossing stupidity...

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Just now, Hobby said:

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.

 

Let's suppose we want to make a truly "safe" level crossing (i.e. similar safety standards to the very high ones which prevail in most other parts of the rail network).

 

It has to be full barrier (unless trains are going to slow to a crawl as discussed above).

 

There are I think two main dangers:

1) Signals cleared but crossing already obstructed

2) Crossing entered after barriers down.

 

Now we do pretty well with someone in a signal box looking out of the window or at a screen but people aren't perfect.

Suppose we have automatic obstacle detection + either a human observer or machine learning system ("AI") looking at in image.

The chance of 1) happening must then be exceedingly small - belts and braces.

 

So that leaves 2). Barriers are generally fairly easy to drive through, and I suppose they have to be in case 1) fails.

But if we're confident it won't, it would be possible to have barriers that would stop all but the most determined road user from passing through. (More expensive and probably slower than what we have now, but not impossible).

 

So I would have thought we could make level crossings extremely safe, if there was the will and money to do so.

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Coryton said:

 

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.

I'm at risk of heading into speculation here but that's because the dual carriageway is as much of a right of way for pedestrians as a footpath (even though it's not exactly sensible). A motorway on the other hand isn't so they were required to put bridges in for existing footpaths. Mind you by that logic railways should have to put bridges in for foot crossings (at least for new ones), and whilst in practice I imagine standards say they have to does the law?

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24 minutes ago, Coryton said:

Let's suppose we want to make a truly "safe" level crossing (i.e. similar safety standards to the very high ones which prevail in most other parts of the rail network).

 

So I would have thought we could make level crossings extremely safe, if there was the will and money to do so.

 

My point is why should we have to to... They are safe enough as it is, even AHBs and foot crossings. If the local people want them to be safer just to allow for the few idiots let them pay for the extra costs, not the railways.

 

BTW for those who say the roads were there before, widespread use of motor vehicles and cycles came long after the railways so that argument could be turned on it's head, we need only make them safe for Horses and pedestrians! ;)

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29 minutes ago, Coryton said:

So that leaves 2). Barriers are generally fairly easy to drive through, and I suppose they have to be in case 1) fails.

 

Full barriers could be designed to swing open away from the railway, with minimal vehicle damage.

 

A better option than half barriers?

 

Martin.

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AIUI half barriers were implemented to provide an escape route, so presumably there's no reason for them at all on a signal-protected crossing with obstacle detection (be it a person in a signal box or a more high-tech system, the reliability of either notwithstanding)?

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or, and hear me out, members of the general public could obey the rules... it isn't hard not to be hit by a train...

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Agreed and the point I was making as well. 

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1 hour ago, Hobby said:

BTW for those who say the roads were there before, widespread use of motor vehicles and cycles came long after the railways so that argument could be turned on it's head, we need only make them safe for Horses and pedestrians! https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_wink3.gif

 Indeed.

Do the various Acts of Parliament not provide for the 'reversal' of a right-of-way?  {Yup, I know a Right of Way is a footpath so denoted.....but folks hopefully get the jist?}

 

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Perhaps a physical barrier, as I have seen on russian videos.....?  :)

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When someone is brought before the Courts for offences regarding level crossings.....is there provision for compensation to train drivers, and maintenance staff, for shock & distress...even if no-one is actually injured?

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Luckily sail still has right of way over steam in most  (but not all) circumstances. Although the Norfolk broads is having difficulty with network rail over lack of maintenance and not opening of bridges..

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1 hour ago, Reorte said:

I'm at risk of heading into speculation here but that's because the dual carriageway is as much of a right of way for pedestrians as a footpath (even though it's not exactly sensible). A motorway on the other hand isn't so they were required to put bridges in for existing footpaths. 

 

That does sound plausible.

 

In Caerphilly there is a no-pedestrians road, and where a footpath crosses it there are signs to indicate that pedestrians are allowed on the tiny stretch of road involved but not beyond.

 

Having said that, I think there's also a section that says no pedestrians on one side of the road and not on the other, which rather spoils that line of argument.

 

1 hour ago, Hobby said:

 

My point is why should we have to to... They are safe enough as it is, even AHBs and foot crossings. If the local people want them to be safer just to allow for the few idiots let them pay for the extra costs, not the railways.

 

Well perhaps, but (aside from the disruption that crossing accidents have not to mention the effect on the train driver) the result seems to be that new level crossings aren't permitted, placing a constraint on new railway lines.

 

I think it should be possible to construct level crossings that are safe enough to be allowed.

 

(And at the other end, if we can treat trams as road vehicles, I don't see why a new-build railway line shouldn't be allowed to have level crossings traversed at walking pace, e.g. for access to factory sidings).

 

I think there is a good case for no more AHB level crossings though.

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30 minutes ago, alastairq said:

 Indeed.

Do the various Acts of Parliament not provide for the 'reversal' of a right-of-way?  {Yup, I know a Right of Way is a footpath so denoted.....but folks hopefully get the jist?}

 

Yes, rights of way can be removed ("stopped up") or diverted if the local authority approves it.

 

There are a few near where I live that have been removed on the fairly reasonable grounds that they don't exist any more due to a quarry (though the OS maps still show them somehow floating above the ground crossing the quarry).

 

(Not only that, but they have cut through a former railway tunnel - you can look down into the quarry and see the ends.)

 

Recently somebody must have realised there was a public footpath on paper that went through the corner of someone's house near me, and the council went through the process of getting rid of it, including signs letting people know that they could object. (At a guess, it was discovered when someone was buying the house)

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Coryton said:

..................... I don't see why a new-build railway line shouldn't be allowed to have level crossings traversed at walking pace, ...................

I'm not sure exactly whether the Rother Valley Railway at Robertsbridge is technically 'new-build' or reinstatement but they're certainly hoping / intending to cross two or three roads on the level including the A21.

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1 hour ago, TheQ said:

Luckily sail still has right of way over steam in most  (but not all) circumstances. Although the Norfolk broads is having difficulty with network rail over lack of maintenance and not opening of bridges..

 

So going diesel must've been quite a relief for BR there :D

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6 hours 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).

Most of the problems with level crossings are caused by user error, not the crossing itself!

When used correctly (obeying the lights etc) level crossings are perfectly safe.

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1 minute ago, royaloak said:

Most of the problems with level crossings are caused by user error, not the crossing itself!

When used correctly (obeying the lights etc) level crossings are perfectly safe.

Agree with you entirely!  Hence why I see no reason to shut all level crossings and cause great inconvenience and journeys of 3 miles just to get from one side of a village to another.

The title of this thread says it all, really.  Going over a level crossing with the lights flashing is an extremely stupid thing to do.

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Or having a late night picnic in the 4ft...

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4 hours ago, TheQ said:

Luckily sail still has right of way over steam in most  (but not all) circumstances. Although the Norfolk broads is having difficulty with network rail over lack of maintenance and not opening of bridges..

As the saying goes, here lies the body of Harold Day, who insisted on his right of way.  When I learnt to sail on Southampton Water, steam (and diesel) had right of way as you did not argue with Cunard's Queens or Esso's oil tankers (not if you wanted to stay alive, anyway).

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8 hours 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).

 

I agree, but in my opinion the railway in the UK already does as much as is reasonably practical to provide a safe right of way at level crossings (and the UK level crossing accident statistics, compared to elsewhere in the world, would suggest that our various systems are actually quite effective). However when road users knowingly and deliberately disregard the precautions in place to ensure their safety, as well as that of rail users, should the solution automatically be yet more cost and disruption to the railway ?

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6 hours ago, TheQ said:

Luckily sail still has right of way over steam in most  (but not all) circumstances.

That's because sailing ships aren't generally as manouevrable as mechanically powered ships.

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42 minutes ago, caradoc said:

 

I agree, but in my opinion the railway in the UK already does as much as is reasonably practical to provide a safe right of way at level crossings (and the UK level crossing accident statistics, compared to elsewhere in the world, would suggest that our various systems are actually quite effective). However when road users knowingly and deliberately disregard the precautions in place to ensure their safety, as well as that of rail users, should the solution automatically be yet more cost and disruption to the railway ?

Nobody knows that until an incident occurs and a judge says so. Hence big fine for the incident at Elsenham and no big fine for Hipperholme.

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6 hours ago, TheQ said:

Luckily sail still has right of way over steam in most  (but not all) circumstances. Although the Norfolk broads is having difficulty with network rail over lack of maintenance and not opening of bridges..

 

Sail has a little difficulty in getting the other party to give way when that other party is a supertanker (or other such vessel)... :)

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I heard a story about some 40s Hollywood actor bloke who apparently crashed his yacht into a US Navy ship...

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3 hours ago, eastglosmog said:

Cunard's Queens or Esso's oil tankers

Sailing of QE2 delayed somewhat in Southampton water....because of the wee old BP tanker I was on, needed to anchor prior to popping over to Hamble to discharge....petroleum [products, not crude oil...] so posh had to give way to a No Smokin' tanker! [Not very smart one either...]   

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