A sad start to 2013 with the news of a death on the level crossing at Yarnton in Oxfordshire. No details yet of what happened, but the initial unconfirmed report I heard suggested a mechanical failure of the car. It is another automatic half barrier crossing – the same type of barrier where a grandmother drove her car onto a crossing and it was hit by a train in Yorkshire less than a month ago. That day a little girl was killed. Today someone else lost their life.
Automatic half barriers are little more than car park barriers – affording little protection and providing no warning to the train via the signals if a car or other obstacle is on the track at the crossing.
Network Rail needs to invest in research into alternative more appropriate protection and to phase out these dangerous crossings.