Despite lowering the distant signals for approaching trains on both lines, the crossing keeper allowed a Down fully fitted fish train (steam hauled) to pass over the crossing before opening the gates for a waiting motor cyclist to cross. An Up 5.17pm Lincoln Central to Cleethorpes passenger train (consisting of two unidentified 2-car DMU’s) which was approaching the crossing as he opened the gates then struck the gate as it was being swung across the line, injuring the gateman and killing the motor cyclist.
The busy crossing, which was continuously manned by three keepers, saw about 150 trains a day and between 1200 and 1500 motor vehicles, of which a large proportion were buses, lorries or road tankers. Between 4pm and 6pm there were about 8 trains and 120 vehicles pass over the crossing in a hour and during a two-hour observation period the gates were closed 11 times for 14 trains. Because of the amount of road traffic, the crossing keepers therefore used their own discretion and judgement in working; the gates so as to avoid undue delay to road traffic. Consequently, the gates were normally kept open to the road and were only closed when a train was notified since the crossing keepers found the flow of traffic made it impossible to do otherwise.
The crossing was nevertheless subject to an Act which stipulated that the gates must normally be kept closed across the road and that “the crossing keeper must not open the gates to the road unless the Up and Down indicators are vertical, unless he is satisfied that it is safe to do so”. At the time of the accident an application was being made to make the crossing exempt from this provision of the Act. Since the crossing keeper restored the signals and opened the gates hastily to let the motorcyclist through without first looking along the line to make sure it was safe (after wrongly assuming that both trains had passed), blame for the accident rested solely with himself. The report also suggested that following the recent 1957 Act, an automatic half-barrier system might be considered appropriate at this location.
This inquiry is noteworthy in that it is the first railway accident inquiry involving a diesel-multiple-unit following their introduction in 1954.
MOT&CA; n/c; 7pp; (W.P. Reed).
Little London PLC, near Stallingborough, ER.
Involving DMU / Road Vehicle
Information from Peter Mullen