November 2010 in Network Rail and Suppliers
Gobowen level crossing is a concern to one reporter as it was noted that at times when a train is approaching Gobowen station on the Down line, the barriers at the level crossing are up, allowing road traffic or pedestrians to cross.
It is felt that this is an unsafe practice as the approach to the station is an area of low adhesion and has a falling gradient. The train could easily slip past the signal at the end of the platform whilst braking and enter the crossing when the barriers are up.
However, it has been noted that at other crossings close to stations the barriers are lowered once the train enters the section; and are kept down until the train has come to a standstill at the platform. The reporter feels that this working practice is safer as it eliminates the risk of the train entering the crossing whilst the barriers are up.
Could Network Rail answer the following:
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention.
All level crossing working practices are governed by the instructions laid out in the relevant railway Rule Book modules and level crossing technical standards applicable to the type of crossing concerned.The Rule Book and technical standards applicable to the level crossing at Gobowen do not require the barriers to be in the lowered position when a Down stopping train approaches the platform.
In addition to those instructions published in the Rule Book and level crossing technical standards, it is sometimes appropriate to issue Signal Box Special Instructions (SBSIs) that take into account location specific conditions and layout. The SBSIs in Gobowen state that the barriers will be lowered for all Down stopping services on their approach to the station. This instruction is specific to Gobowen only and was agreed after a local risk assessment taking into account the local conditions such as the gradient and acknowledging that Gobowen is listed as a site of known poor rail adhesion. This instruction is subject to review on a six-monthly basis.
Whilst it is seen as good practice to keep the barriers down in such situations the risk associated with barriers remaining in the lowered position for any longer than is absolutely necessary can increase the risk of crossing users becoming impatient and jumping red lights or barriers.