At 8.30pm on a dark and snowy Christmas Eve, a private car skidded on the timber surfacing of the crossing, which was protected by automatic half barriers, and came to rest on the cattle guard at the east side of the crossing, obstructing the railway line. The driver of the vehicle was unable to move the MG Midget sports car and, before he could warn the signalman using the emergency telephone, the car was struck by the 19.55 Up DMU from Carlisle to Newcastle.
The automatic half barrier equipment was working normally and as the train approached the crossing, the driver of the car and his passenger stood clear of the line to avoid injury. The leading bogie of the train was derailed by the collision and although there were no passenger injuries, the DMU driver suffered from shock.
In the 12-month period leading up to the accident there were seven other reported cases of vehicles skidding or getting stuck on the same part of the crossing. Subsequent skid tests carried out by the County Surveyor concluded that the timber surfacing of the crossing was dangerously low and quite unsatisfactory. It was recommended that the profile of the approaching road as well as through the crossing be improved with a suitable non-skid surface and that the visibility of the roadside telephones be improved so that they could be seen more easily in the dark.
DOE; b/c; 7pp; inc location diagram, sketch showing crossing details, sketch showing cross-section of road surface over crossing, photographs of crossing during the day and at night (I.K.A. McNaughton).
Upper Denton Public Level Crossing, ER
Involving DMU / Car
Information from Peter Mullen