UK - Railway Barriers Probed, Extensive Safety Checks May Be Needed : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Title: Railway barrier crash probe ~ Extensive checks may be needed By Neil Mckay Chief Reporter March 23, 2000 HUNDREDS of rail barriers may require safety checks after a crossing accident which left a father and his two-year-old son badly hurt.

Accident investigators and rail workers are concerned that a barrier on an unmanned level crossing at Seghill, near Blyth, Northumberland, apparently sprung back up after landing on a Fiat Punto which had tried to drive through before it shut.

Police believe Syed Ahmed, who was driving his two young children in a Vauxhall Carlton some distance behind the Punto, did not see the collision and, because the barrier was up, drove on to the crossing and into the path of a goods engine. The engine shunted his car 50 metres along the track. Firemen freed the occupants with cutting equipment after using hydraulic jacks to pull the wreckage of the car from beneath the train.

The accident happened where Station Road, Seghill, crosses the Blyth and Tyne rail line, which is currently used for freight only. Proposals are in place to run half-hourly passenger services on the track, which runs from Newcastle to Ashington.

But rail workers are concerned that the barrier sprung up after it was struck by the Punto.

One said: "The barriers are supposed to stop cars from passing them, that's why they are there. They are no good if they spring up when they are hit. If this one sprung back up when it hit a car then who's to say others wouldn't? All these barriers should be checked for faults."

A British Transport Police spokesman said: "The cause of the accident and what exactly happened is being fully investigated by ourselves, Railtrack and the Health and Safety people."

A Railtrack spokeswoman confirmed a full investigation was being conducted into the cause of the accident, at 5.30pm on Sunday, but declined to speculate on its outcome.

Mr Ahmed, of Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, was described as satisfactory by staff at Newcastle General Hospital yesterday. The family has asked that no information be given about their son. Mr Ahmed's daughter, five, was also injured in the crash but later discharged from hospital.


-- (, March 23, 2000

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