Crossing is UK’s most dangerous
PUBLISHED: 09:24 14 December 2006 | UPDATED: 10:03 31 May 2010
THE father of one of the girls killed at Elsenham Railway Station just over a year ago believes Network Rail could have prevented his daughter s death. A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), published on Monday, said the crossing at th
THE father of one of the girls killed at Elsenham Railway Station just over a year ago believes Network Rail could have prevented his daughter's death.
A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), published on Monday, said the crossing at the station is one of the most dangerous in the country and a risk assessment carried out by the railway infrastructure operator eight months before the tragedy was "substantially flawed".
It also states that safety measures were not implemented after a woman was killed on the crossing in 1989.
Chris Bazlinton, whose daughter Olivia was killed at the crossing with her friend Charlotte Thompson on December 3, 2005, believes Network Rail should admit it is not as safe as it claims.
He said: "The RAIB report proves what we already suspected - that Network Rail and its predecessors chose to ignore the evidence that the crossing at Elsenham was unsafe. If they had taken action, Liv and Charlie would be alive today.
"After a fatal accident in 1989, they failed to install a 'second train coming' sign as they were told to do by Her Majesty's Rail Inspectorate and the new report states that the inherent risk factors are amongst the highest at any pedestrian crossing on the UK mainline network.
"It also describes the April 2005 risk assessment as "incorrect" and "substantially flawed."
"It all gives the lie to Network Rail's constant assertion that this is a safe crossing and it's time they changed their tune."
Network Rail announced in September they would be installing locking pedestrian gates and a footbridge at the station, although no timescale for the work to be carried out was given.
Mr Bazlinton said: "We urge Network Rail to lock the gates now and get the bridge built as soon as possible, and to make sure that they take action elsewhere before another tragedy happens."
Network Rail's route director, Jon Wiseman, said the operator would give the report consideration before responding officially.
He said: "The deaths of Charlotte and Olivia were a tragedy, and will never be forgotten.
"Since December 2005, a number of changes have been made with permanent CCTV cameras now in place.
"Arrangements have also been made for a higher British Transport Police presence at the crossing and we have held a local awareness campaign to help people understand how to use the crossing correctly and safely.
"Work has already begun to design a footbridge and locking system for the wicket gates at the station."
The RAIB report said: "The risk assessment carried out by Network Rail in April 2005 was incorrect and was not the subject of consultation with the station operator.
"The resulting assessment of the risks posed to users at Elsenham was therefore substantially flawed and the inherent risk factors are amongst the highest at any station pedestrian crossing on the UK mainline network."
In its recommendations, the RAIB says pedestrian gates should be locked in the closed position before signals are cleared for the approach of trains and a footbridge should be constructed.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Saffron Walden Reporter. Click the link in the orange box above for details.