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South Norfolk
  MP calls for review of level crossings
Third death in 18 months at Swainsthorpe

Norfolk Police Headquarters
A One Railways class 90 locomotive
was involved in the incident.  The
train weighs nearly 85 tonnes

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon has asked Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander to review the safety of automatic half-barrier level crossings, after a person was killed when a train travelling at 100mph collided with a car on the level crossing at Swainsthorpe in Mr Bacon’s South Norfolk constituency.

The incident is the third fatality at the Swainsthorpe level crossing in South Norfolk within 18 months. It comes just one day after the Office of Rail Regulation issued a policy statement on level crossings stating that the 7,700 level crossings on the national rail network present the biggest risk of train accidents that could kill passengers. 

Mr Bacon said: “I have asked the Transport Secretary to review the safety of half-barrier crossings.  Clearly, having a full barrier at a crossing would prevent motorists from driving onto the crossing, either accidentally or intentionally”. 

“Today I have spoken with Network Rail, who say they have a sophisticated risk model for level crossings which helps them decide what type of barrier to install. However, given that three lives have been lost at the Swainsthorpe crossing in the last 18 months, it would seem this risk model isn’t working”. 

“I hope the transport secretary will look seriously at whether half-barrier crossings are more prone to accidents and misuse than other types of crossing and whether full barrier crossings would be more appropriate”.

1 March 2007

PDF document

Read Mr Bacon's letter to Mr Alexander

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