PDA

View Full Version : Train crash at Ufton Nervet


uffington sb
7th Nov 2004, 14:29
Yes I know it's not avaition, but as an ex Air Traffic Controller and now railway man I would like to pass on my condolances to those who died in the above accident, particularly to the family of thr train driver. I often have to cab ride and I know how exposed these guys and girls are. I just hope this wasn't just some sort of prank or suicide attempt, Ive been first on scene at a suicide involving a train, and it's not nice.

Unwell_Raptor
7th Nov 2004, 15:13
I agree, and my sympathy and sadness goes to those afflicted.

Was it, though, entirely necessary to pull the film of The Railway Children from this afternoon's TV schedules? Just how emotionally fragile are we all these days?

terryJones
7th Nov 2004, 19:01
It's the train driver who I feel sorry for in all of these incidents. They are little more than passengers at this time being taken to the scene of the accident. With all other forms of transport one can make an attempt to 'steer round' the object of concern.
There is, sorry, was, one pillock on a motor cycle who lived near here until recently. He boasted in the local that he had NEVER stopped at any of the three level crossing between here and the town. He would apparently race the train and nip through the half barriers when he got there. This evening was no different in that he saw the train coming up the track and continued to the crossing. So did the train coming in the opposite direction...All three met in the middle.

maxalt
7th Nov 2004, 21:40
Suicide, eh?

What nationality?

BRL
7th Nov 2004, 22:47
It has not been confirmed yet but they are looking at this terrible event as a suicide. I was told last night about an hour after it happened what the off duty copper had seen by a freind of mine in the BTP. Wasn't nice to hear at all as at that time I was in the middle of London on my train.

Pretty sobering thought if he did take his own life that way, why didn't he just stand on the crossing instead of leaving his car there. Sadly, we will never know.

Hay Ewe
8th Nov 2004, 01:30
It makes me really upset when people want to take their lives but cause massive heart ache for those left behund and in this case, the relatives of those who also passed away in the aftermath.

My condolances.

Hay Ewe - sorry about the others

Onan the Clumsy
8th Nov 2004, 01:40
I had a mate try and top himself and I'm really glad they found him before the pills did him in. I think he is too, though I have to admit I haven't asked him.

Another bloke I didn't know too well - he was another pilot where I was flying - but whose company I enjoyed, tried and succeeded. Hanged himself if you're interested. That was a very strange feeling, not exactly guilt, but something similar as it was totally unexpected and I ended up asking myself how I couldn't have known and what could I have done to stop it. The answers of course are "I couldn't" and "Nothing".

:(

BlueWolf
8th Nov 2004, 04:46
Had a mate who succeeded; he was a pharmacist, and used morphine. That was ten years ago, and I still have the odd weep when I think about it. Apart from the effect on his wife and young kids, the worst thing is that he couldn't talk to anyone about what was troubling him, not even his mother, and they were seriously close. Feeling useless as a mate, as well as feeling the hurt of a loss, as well as feeling for everyone else's loss, as well as feeling for what the poor bu&&er was going through, just sucks.

At least he didn't take anyone else with him. Condolences to all involved.

Whirlygig
8th Nov 2004, 07:15
Condolences to all those killed and a speedy recovery for the injured.

I live two crossings down from Ufton Nervet - I heard the bang. Still feel sick.

The car was occupied and the driver was killed.

Sadly, those who are in the frame of mind to committ suicide are not likely to be thinking of others.

radeng
8th Nov 2004, 07:41
After the Heck crash, there was a lot of discussion in the technical press as to whether or not that crash would have been much less severe with a locomotive weighing 90 or 100 tons pulling the train instead of pushing it. On that basis, one would expect the HST with a motor coach at each end to be a bit more stable in a crash of this sort than a driving trailer, but nevertheless, they are relatively light.

Drivers do have a lot better visibility now than in steam days: nevertheless, there was a lot to be said for having an awful lot of strong metal in front. I can't help wondering if a 100+ tons of Class 47 loco hauling that train would have had a better chance of staying on the track. A good example of that is the photo of the Class 47 that hit a lorry on the track back in about 1978 - the front is stoved in, the driver and secondman were killed, but it stayed upright on the track.

Does anyone know of comparative figures from Europe and the US for accidents on level crossings?

itchy kitchin
8th Nov 2004, 07:57
Can't remember specifics, but according to last nights channel 4 news, the UK has the lowest number of deaths on level crossings in europe.

Big Hilly
8th Nov 2004, 08:59
UK LEVEL CROSSING DEATHS
2003/4: 18
2002/3: 13
2001/2: 12
2000/1: 9
1999/0: 13
1998/9: 12
1997/8: 13
1996/7: 3
1995/6: 11
1994/5: 12
Source: HSE rail safety report

Don't know about Europe or US though.

BH

eal401
8th Nov 2004, 09:12
While I have no wish to judge suicide per se, to attempt it in a way that risks (and in this case ends) the lives of others is disgusting.

If you want to end it all, only end yourself. Please.

Kolibear
8th Nov 2004, 09:33
I did wonder if there was any value in floodlighting the crossing such that the barriers come down & overhead lighting comes on so that a train driver might have a better chance of seeing any obstruction. Or maybe motion detectors scanning the crossing that would either illuminate a red signal or sound an alarm in the cab?

Wycombe
8th Nov 2004, 09:33
Here, here EAL. If indeed it was a suicide, there are several small unmanned stations along the line that he could have jumped under a 125 from as it speeds through, rather than wasting so many other innocent lives (horribly traumatic for the driver I would imagine, but at least no further unnecessary deaths).

I passed the scene on the A4 this morning on my normal commute to work. Very sobering when it's on your doorstep.

Sky Wave
8th Nov 2004, 09:51
Kolibear

The train would never stop in time. If you look at where it stopped in the picture you'll see that all 8 coaches plus two power cars are a long way from the crossing. Given that the train had hit an obstruction and derailed I would imagine that helped to stop it quicker.

SW

Curious Pax
8th Nov 2004, 10:32
I heard an ASLEF guy being interviewed on Sunday morning who surprised me a little by being pretty considered in his thoughts. He suggested that removing all level crossings was probably not feasible, but removing some, and introducing a system used in Japan pretty much as described by Kolibear, which would warn the driver if there was an obstruction might be an option. Cost of safety device vs cost/chances of a crash debate again (like red light thingy after the Paddington crash).

eal401
8th Nov 2004, 10:46
You'd have thought that it would be fairly simple to have some kind of sensor system as described. Compared to making all road/rail junctions flyovers or underpasses anyway!

Lukeafb1
8th Nov 2004, 10:50
I had a pretty sleepless night on Saturday, because I knew my daughter was being driven by someone I didn't know to a venue near Ufton Nervet. It took me until mid-Sunday morning to contact her. Fortunately, all was well.

But my thoughts were also with all of the passengers' friends and families, who knew that someone close to them was on the train and were not able to contact them.

Condolences to the families of those 7 who lost their lives.

Sky Wave
8th Nov 2004, 11:37
The design requirements for Automatic Half Barriers state that they should be in the down position at least 10 seconds before the approaching train arrives at the crossing. This timing is deliberately low, since if you leave it any longer some local drivers who use these rural roads on a daily basis weave around the barriers as they know they've got time before the train arrives. Even if you managed to introduced a sensor system (which didn't go off every time a badger crosses the road) with only 10 seconds to react the reduction of train speed would be negligible and certainly wouldn't save the lives of the car drivers who 99% of the time are the only people killed or injured in these types of incidents. The only way to stop road users misusing these crossings is to change the type of crossing to full barriers with CCTV (which drivers can still crash through) or build a bridge or a tunnel. All of these options are costly.

People seem to think that trains can stop on a sixpence just by showing them a red light or sounding a buzzer in the cab, but I'm sorry to say they cannot.

2good2betrue
8th Nov 2004, 12:16
Another tragic incident where my sympathies go out to the friends and families and all those affected by the disaster


2good2betrue

Gainesy
8th Nov 2004, 12:57
Does anybody know what the emergency stop distance of such a train at 100mph actually is? BRL perhaps?

Training Risky
8th Nov 2004, 13:03
I think Maxalt raises a good point on questioning the immediate viewers' verdict of suicide. Was it the dirty tricks brigade?.... like Dr Kelly going for 'a walk in the woods'?

Nasty business for all concerned.

Onan the Clumsy
8th Nov 2004, 13:17
Does anyone know of comparative figures from Europe and the US for accidents on level crossings? I heard one a day in the State of Texas. Dunno if it's true though.

Here's a link (http://ntsb.gov/railroad/railroad.htm) to more info, sadly the railroad site isn't as developed as the aviation site.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
8th Nov 2004, 13:17
I am surprised that a car was able to de-rail an HST - but I suppose it depends on lots of factors, and most times the car would be bashed out of the way and the train, though damaged, stay on the tracks.

It was of course a dreadfull tragedy, but also a testament to the strength of the Mk111 coach that of the 300 people on the train just 6 were killed. Doesn't make it any better for the loved ones of those 6 of course, but it would have been far worse if older stock had been involved.

As a frequent user of the new Pendelinos which have replaced Mk111 coaches on the West Coast main Line, I wonder how they would have fared in such circumstances?

SSD

Sky Wave
8th Nov 2004, 13:35
I'm not an expert on traction & rolling stock but from what I can tell from the standards a HST doing 100mph should be able to stop in a maximum of 1166m. This of course does not allow for slope, drivers reaction time and slippery conditions.

Onan the Clumsy
8th Nov 2004, 13:58
As a frequent user of the new Pendelinos which have replaced Mk111 coaches on the West Coast main Line, I wonder how they would have fared in such circumstances? Don't they have crash tests like for cars? It'd be expensive, but then again they do it with aircraft for certification.


Perhaps what they should do is to have a bag of leaves placed at each level crossing then if a car gets stuck and a train is coming, they can dump the leaves onto the line and the train will come to an instant stop. Before you scoff, remember it worked with Southern Region (though you did need the correct type of leaf).

eal401
8th Nov 2004, 15:04
As a frequent user of the new Pendelinos which have replaced Mk111 coaches on the West Coast main Line, I wonder how they would have fared in such circumstances?
I hope we never find out.

Standard Noise
8th Nov 2004, 15:38
News stations are saying that it does indeed look like suicide as it appears the off duty police officer who arrived at the scene just before the crash was seen and heard by other witnesses trying to persuade the pratt in the car to move off the crossing. Reports are saying that the police officer only moved away at the last minute and actually risked his life trying to prevent the crash.

It's also a bit worrying that the level crossing emergency phone wasn't working at the time and the officer had to ring 999 using his own mobile. If this phone was out of action for sometime, Network Rail have a bit of explaining to do.

Why couldn't he just have gone to Beachy Head and jumped?

MadsDad
8th Nov 2004, 15:40
Sky Wave

You say that the barriers only drop 10 seconds before the train will pass, because of the impatience of drivers (unfortunate, but totally believable). But the rule always used to be (and as far as I know stil is) that until the barriers were down the signal for the crossing (the preceding signal) would be at danger (red) which meant that the preceding block signal would be a at warning (orange).

If there was some sort of camera operated obstruction warning system it would maintain the danger which would mean that the train would be braking down past the preceding warning signal - and going a lot slower when it came within sight of the obstruction (the whole system is designed so that the preceding warning signal should enable the train to stop in time for the danger signal).

Sky Wave
8th Nov 2004, 15:44
Standard Noise

Where did you get the information that the crossing phones were not working from? I read that the train came along before the phones were answered (a bit of a difference). Either the policeman was trying to talk the guy out of the car or he was trying to contact the signaller. Phoning 999 would take much longer than using the crossing phones which are a direct line to the controlling signaller.

Madsdad.

The type of crossings that you refer to with controlling signals are controlled level crossings. These crossings have full barriers or gates and either a crossing keeper, an on site signalman or CCTV to ensure that the crossing is clear before the signaller clears the signal to allow the train to proceed. Obviously with controlled crossing the barriers remain down for a lot longer than automatic crossings since you have to get them down, and clear the signals long before the train arrives. (i.e. if the barriers aren't lowered for any reason the train will come to a gentle stop at the protecting signal using normal service braking).

For the reason that I stated earlier it is not practicable to protect an automatic crossing with signals since we don't want the barriers to be down long enough for drivers to weave around them.

There are many examples around the country of AHB's with nearby signals which will legitimately be green with the barriers in the air.

Hope that clarifies things

PaperTiger
8th Nov 2004, 16:12
US figures for last year:· The nation’s 674 freight railroads operated 749,061,176 train miles during 2003, a 2.8 percent increase from 2002 and a 14.3 percent increase since 1994. Amtrak and other commuter railroads operated 15,539,433,007 passenger miles.

· There were 2,919 highway-rail grade crossing incidents, an all-time low; a 5.1 percent decline from 2002 and a 41.4 percent decrease from 1994.

· There were 324 highway-rail grade crossing fatalities, an all-time low; a 9 percent decline from 2002 and a 47.3 percent decrease from 1994.

· The highway-rail incident rate fell to 3.90 per million train-miles, an all-time low. This is a 7.6 percent decline from 2002 and a 48.7 percent decrease from 1994.Couldn't find a breakdown of fatalities (vehicle riders vs. train crew/riders), but US locomotives are generally much stronger and sturdier than British counterparts, particularly an HST power car. US accidents generally occur at much loer speeds, but I very much doubt a collision with a Mazda would lead to a derailment.

banana9999
8th Nov 2004, 16:12
You say that the barriers only drop 10 seconds before the train will pass, because of the impatience of drivers (unfortunate, but totally believable). But the rule always used to be (and as far as I know stil is) that until the barriers were down the signal for the crossing (the preceding signal) would be at danger (red) which meant that the preceding block signal would be a at warning (orange).

Absolutely not true.

Level crossing are not an obstruction.

MadsDad
8th Nov 2004, 16:20
Thank you for the clarification Sky. I was under the misapprehension that the AHB crossings had the same sort of signal control as the manually controlled barriers.

Astrodome
8th Nov 2004, 17:53
By way of introduction I am a senior manager in the railway industry with some 30 years frontline experience of rail operations and maintenance.

Couldn't find a breakdown of fatalities (vehicle riders vs. train crew/riders), but US locomotives are generally much stronger and sturdier than British counterparts, particularly an HST power car.
On what basis do you make this assertion?. All driving cabs are required to meet specific International crash-worthiness specifications.

I know of situations where HST power cars have struck locomotives, including the discussed class 47 on here, and the locomotive has come off second best.

US accidents generally occur at much loer speeds, but I very much doubt a collision with a Mazda would lead to a derailment
It is almost beyond doubt in my professional opinion that the catestrophic derailment was brought about when the leading bogie of the train struck the points. This could have been because the bogie was derailed at this point...or because a part of the road vehicle was being dragged forward by the train.


Comparison with USA level crossing statistics are not very appropriate owing to a variety of differences both operational and cultural.

PaperTiger
8th Nov 2004, 18:04
On what basis do you make this assertion?. All driving cabs are required to meet specific International crash-worthiness specifications.A generalization to be sure, and I was not referring to cab safety specifically. I think a simple visual inspection of the typical US loco vis-a-vis a UK one would lead to the assessment that they are of heavier overall construction, and less likely to derail after colliding with a (comparatively) insubstantial object such as an auto. But I will bow to your expertise.
Comparison with USA level crossing statistics are not very appropriate owing to a variety of differences both operational and cultural.Somebody asked, I supplied an answer.

Onan the Clumsy
8th Nov 2004, 18:06
Astrodome Out of interest, do they perform crash tests with locomotives like they do with cars?

Paracab
8th Nov 2004, 18:07
On the subject of the strength of carriages, did anyone see the pictures in the paper of the carriage totally bent in half? It actually resembled a hair pin.

The mind boggles at the amount of energy that is required to do that to a railway carriage.

Of course there are many variables in any transport accident, but I'm still amazed that this type of accident can occur in this day and age.

Standard Noise
8th Nov 2004, 18:53
Sky Wave - It was reported in the media that the police officer tried to use the trackside emergency phone (which, if it is a direct line to the signalling controller, should be answered immediately should it not?) but got no response. So either it was broken or the signalling controller did not, for some reason, answer a direct emergency line.
Emergency lines are installed for a purpose, be it for a rail system or an airport etc. If it is broken, then it must be fixed without delayor an alternative put in place. If it is not answered by those tasked with answering it, then that is at best disgraceful and at worst, negligence.

The officer's 999 call was reported as logged at 6:11pm local, one minute before the crash. If it was logged by the 999 operator, then that shows he made the call before the crash.

Sky Wave
8th Nov 2004, 19:52
Standard Noise

This is what the latest report from the press association says and I find it far more believable.

"An off-duty Thames Valley Police officer saw the saloon car on the track as the barriers came down but had only just reached the emergency phone when the 100mph train struck"

There is nothing to suggest that the phones were not working or that the signaller did not answer them in a timely manner.

Perhaps the officer called 999 prior to trying the crossing phones. You'd be surprised what people do in the heat of the moment.

I think it's a little but early to be shouting negligence especially since your source is the media who are notoriously melodramatic.

IB4138
8th Nov 2004, 20:09
It would be very odd indeed, if the HST unit involved in this accident had any vehicles in its consist,that were involved in the Ladbroke Grove crash. The Ladbroke Grove HST contained the salvageable vehicles from the Southall crash.

jabird
8th Nov 2004, 20:16
Today's Telegraph has an excellent editorial response to the calls for all crossings to be scrapped, but I guess we're all pretty familiar here with this debate.

I would not normally want to sound remotely alarmist over any safety issues, when we all know that the roads pose the greatest danger to loss of life in any transport medium.

Technically, crossing incidents, IIRC, are classed as road accidents, as opposed to rail accidents anyway, but what is worrying here is that this does not seem to have been an accident.

Put together:

A place of gathering for many people (a train)
A deliberate suicidal act
Multiple deaths of innocent people


Is it really stretching things too far to label Saturday's tragedy as an act of terrorism, even if we do not yet know the person's motives for taking his own life and that of others?

I don't want to belittle the problem of depression and suicide, which are obviously very serious issues. Having been on a train in Canada where someone decided to end his life by walking in front of it, my thoughts were also with the driver for having to witness something he could have done nothing about.

In this case, it seems that the person in question did not even give the driver that opportunity.

We cannot speculate on what sort of world the car driver was hoping to bring himself to by committing this act, but in taking 6 other people with him, I am afraid he is in the same league in my books as all the fanatics who blow themselves up on the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

Caslance
8th Nov 2004, 20:20
Is it really stretching things too far to label Saturday's tragedy as an act of terrorism, even if we do not yet know the person's motives for taking his own life and that of others? Errrr.....yes.

Next question????

Astrodome
8th Nov 2004, 20:35
Yes they do.

There is an International Standard (UIC) concerning the crashworthiness and deformation parameters of driving cabs.

I understand that much work is now done by computer simulation at the design stage.

The following document is a good start :-

Requirements for Driving Cabs of Railway Vehicles (http://www.rgsonline.co.uk/docushare/dsweb/Get/Rail-4990/Rt2161.pdf) This link I have posted will also enable you to browse of Railway Group Standards, which are legal documents in respect of train operations on Network Rail.

The following link connects to the European Standards site relative to Interoperability for railways,

Link to Euro Standards (CEN) (http://www.cenorm.be/CENORM/BusinessDomains/TechnicalCommitteesWorkshops/CENTechnicalCommittees/WP.asp?param=6237&title=CEN/TC%20256)

Standard Noise We in the Railway Industry would much prefer that the facts were established and made available before the media and others start inaccurate and misleading rumours circulating.

BRL
8th Nov 2004, 23:20
Interesting thread. Does anybody know what the emergency stop distance of such a train at 100mph actually is? BRL perhaps? I don't know but I will give it a try tomorrow and let you know how far and how long it takes. (I am driving empties so will do it then).

As for AHB's, they are operated by a treadle that is placed in the track at a certain distance from the crossing. When the train goes over the treadle, the treadle counts how many wheels go over it and there is another one the other side of the crossing to count how many have gone past so it knows when to go back up. They are placed in relation to the line speed. There is one along the coast here between Brighton and Chichester that takes 13 seconds to go down. The line speed is 70 mph. If you were doing 75/80, you could get there before or just as it is going down. Never done that myself but I know drivers who have. (Not deliberately of course).

Full barriers at crossings that are operated by the signaller do have cctv that goes off when the barriers are lowered. Can never get my head around that, if someone jumps over then the signalers won't know until the dreaded red phone goes off....

I too was suprised to hear that a car had derailed the entire train. My immediate thoughts were that the train had gone straight over the car causing derailment but this is not the case. Someone already pointed out that the points just after the crossing were to blame as the trains engine would have gone with the rail and the other coaches following it.

At 100mph and a heavy train, that seems quite a reasonable event to happen. If the points were not there then I reckon the train would have stayed on. The reason some coaches ended up bent like they did is the engine at the front come off and slowed down quickly, while the engine at the rear carried on as if nothing had happened untill that come off the rails. Pretty common on push pull trains like the HST and the results are pretty horific as we have all seen.

There are lots of steps that can be taken to prevent this kind of thing happening again, but, at the end of the day, it is down to the individual who wants to die, exactly how and where that happens.

A vast majority of fatalities involve peole with mental illness. What do you do then if it turns out this guy had a history of mental illness? Lock up all people with mental illness? nope, can't be done can it so there will be people ending it like this for as long as trains are around as I found out the hard way last year.

My thoughts go out obviously for all the families grieving right now and for the copper who tried to stop it all. He really will be going through a bloody hard time of it right now and for a long time to come.

VFE
8th Nov 2004, 23:55
Terrorism is the unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives.

Condolences go to the family and friends of those affected and in particular the family of the car driver and the policeman who must have the biggest case of what if-itis in the world right now, poor sod.

Anyone commiting suicide has to be pretty much mentally unbalanced at the time. Taking others with you would be unlikely to enter your head if you're that far gone that suicide is an option. A guy I knew did himself in earlier this year by pouring petrol over himself and setting light. However, there were no signs that he was mentally disturbed the night before he did it when I was with him, he was as jovial as ever. It will remain one of the most perplexing things I have ever experienced. You keep asking yourself "why?"...... but it's unexplainable. :hmm:

VFE.

Sultan Ismail
9th Nov 2004, 00:05
Braking Distance

Confirming Sky Waves earlier comment, the nominal braking distance for a train travelling at 160kph (100 mph) is 1,200 metres, this allows for reaction time but does not allow for gradient. The gradient is factored into distance which then determines signal positions.

I shake my head at the perpetual cheap value of life, with statements that it is too expensive to build a bridge or an underpass. Outside the UK new or upgrading projects invariably include the removal of level crossings.

Technology improves (or advances!) but the human mind has its own set of rules, no matter how much safety is built into the railway system, someone will always try to beat it, therefore take the human out of the safety equation and put in a bridge or an underpass.

And Level crossing systems are not cheap, there is the barrier boom and motor, the track detection equipment, signal interlocking circuits, additional signals, communication facilities, as well as the road infrastructure across the track. Take all that away and the trains run safely at full line speed and everyone sleeps at night.

To the victims of this tragedy R.I.P.

BRL
9th Nov 2004, 09:55
I shake my head at the perpetual cheap value of life, with statements that it is too expensive to build a bridge or an underpass. I remember years and years ago when I first started there was a serious incident that may have been avoided and I asked one of the old boys why it happened again. His reply went along the lines of it is cheaper for them to pay Xmillion every couple of years in compensation when this kind of thing happens, rather than pay XXX million to upgrade.

Still rings true now I reckon.

c-bert
9th Nov 2004, 10:07
Having done a spot of Safety Engineering in my time I can assure you that for every job you apply a 'cost of life'.

Nothing practical can be totally safe and so a compromise has to be arrived at. The risk to life must be - ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Practical) which is of course a nice ambiguous statement. Basically, you decide how many people are likely to die and x cost per head, then weigh that up against the likelyhood of the event and the cost of implimenting change.

A very easy way to get very cynical, very quickly...;)

banana9999
9th Nov 2004, 10:46
The disappointing thing is that the risk assessment may not have included the risk of a major derailment due to point downstream from the level crossing.

I would think that all level crossings withing (say) 800m of points with a line speed of over (say) 50mph will now have to have full gates, signal interlocking and CCTV monitoring.

ramsrc
9th Nov 2004, 12:06
I too was suprised to hear that a car had derailed the entire train. I too was somewhat surprised, but from another forum I heard that the leading power car suffered pretty substantial underframe damage and was leaking diesel. Sounds like there could be a wildcard which puts this into the freak accident category.

It would be very odd indeed, if the HST unit involved in this accident had any vehicles in its consist,that were involved in the Ladbroke Grove crash Don't know the answer to that one as I don't know the details of the Ladbroke Grove consist. However, this one was apparently:

Power cars: 43019 (leading) and 43029
Coaches: 41013 41014 40206 42018 42022 42017 42020 and 44006. :8

Phoenix09
9th Nov 2004, 12:52
Having spent the best part of Saturday night/Sunday morning at this tragic incident, mainly carrying out body recovery, I was informed by a representative from the HSE's HM Railways Inspectorate on-site that an HST would take a distance of 1200 metres and a time of 50 seconds to stop from a speed of 100mph.

Lots I would like to say in response to both this thread and some of the speculation in the media over the last couple of days but unfortunately probably not appropriate for me to do so at this time.

Edited to add:

If it is indeed proven that this was a case of suicide then he would not be the first person to kill himself this way. There was an incident in 2003 in which a man drove his car onto a half barrier level crossing and parked in front of an on-coming mail train.

pprecious
9th Nov 2004, 12:58
Following on the acceptable risk theory, if all AHB's were upgraded to full barriers with CCTV etc I am sure that a person intent on taking his / her life would still find a way around the system, indeed early reports of the crash (now I believe incorrect looking at the pictures) were indicating that the car was being driven along the track. A car could also just as easily be driven off a bridge.

Changing to full barrier would potentially slow trains down dependant on signal sighting etc, (which is not what the average commuter would welcome) and would also cause the barriers to be down for much longer promoting the weaving that car drivers seem intent on doing (I have taken registration numbers of cars doing this from the cab rides I used to carry out)

Regarding suicidal tendancies, a friend of mine who has had some training in this area has previously indicated that the tendancy tend to last a maximum of 30 mins, I was wondering if anyone further trained knows anymore about this time period?

Unfortunately when we are dealing with human being's we can only go so far with safety measures, health and safety etc before they become counter productive.

My thoughts are with the victims families and those who witnessed the crash and its aftermath. The absolute, complete selfishness of the car driver is, well, incomprehensible.

Binoculars
9th Nov 2004, 13:07
The absolute, complete selfishness of the car driver is, well, incomprehensible.

Hard to go past that description when you think that all he had to do to achieve his objective was to lie down on the track. Clear thinking, however, is not the hallmark of your average suicide.

Onan the Clumsy
9th Nov 2004, 13:15
Just an observation, nothing more, but I find it interesting that the statementa distance of 1200 metres and a time of 50 seconds to stop from a speed of 100mph contains a mixture of metric and not metric units.

And of course, I am assuming this statement to be an official one.

Phoenix09
9th Nov 2004, 13:38
It was not an official statement This was a casual conversation in the very early hours of Sunday morning after quite a stressful night with a non technical, non railway person (i.e. me) whilst waiting for a decision to be made on the recovery of the last fatalities.

Onan the Clumsy
9th Nov 2004, 14:02
Ok, sorry, like I said I was wondering if they used different units for different things.

I have to take my OCD tablets now, but the bottle isn't pointing in exactly the right direction :ugh:


:}

Sky Wave
9th Nov 2004, 14:09
Onan the Clumsy: RVR 500m DA 200ft :ok:

I know in the states you use SM for reporting viz, however over this side of the pond we are accustom to mixed units. Outside of aviation we use metric for most forms of measurement but speed is nearly always MPH in the UK.

What ever gave you the idea that it was an official statement? I didn't get that impression.

[Edit] Just noticed your a brit! You know this already:D

Onan the Clumsy
9th Nov 2004, 14:13
I was hedging. I didn't want it to sound like I was attacking Phoenix.

Plus it sort of sounded like one. I can see it on the exam.

Astrodome
9th Nov 2004, 23:24
BRL
Full barriers at crossings that are operated by the signaller do have cctv that goes off when the barriers are lowered. Can never get my head around that, if someone jumps over then the signalers won't know until the dreaded red phone goes off.... Sorry but you have been misinformed. The monitor stays on until the barriers have again raised, and the Signalman does monitor the crossing.

At 100mph and a heavy train, that seems quite a reasonable event to happen. If the points were not there then I reckon the train would have stayed on. The reason some coaches ended up bent like they did is the engine at the front come off and slowed down quickly, while the engine at the rear carried on as if nothing had happened untill that come off the rails. Pretty common on push pull trains like the HST and the results are pretty horific as we have all seen. I have attended a few of these types of incident and it is not usual for the train to derail. Unless the road vehicle is hit full on the tendency is to throw it to one side. Otherwise the tendency is for the vehicle to be 'wrapped up' into a heap as it is dragged along.
I once had to inspect the mangeld remains of a van underneath a Class 150 Sprinter to see if there were any blood stains in order to establish if there had been anybody in there. On that occasion a van had been deliberately placed on the line.
This is not an uncommon occurrence by any means.


Sultan Ismail
I shake my head at the perpetual cheap value of life, with statements that it is too expensive to build a bridge or an underpass. Outside the UK new or upgrading projects invariably include the removal of level crossings. You need to understand that ultimately there has to be some level of financial assessment put on the value of a life in order that money can be spent on the most effective safety measures. Railways are to a large extent still publicly funded and I am sure that most people on here would baulk at the necessary increase in taxation were EVERY bit of POTENTIAL safety measure implemented. People also fail to understand that theses measures fail occasionally due to malfunction which causes the equipment to fail-safe thus bring trains to a stand and thereby creating other more serious risks. Without some sort of ranking it would not be possible to determine the most beneficial use of scare resources, both money as well as staff. For you information, the value of your life on the railway is about £4 million, for major accident risks it works out at about £12 million....The value of your life for road improvements??...£500, 000. Maybe worth taking up with your local MP.

With Regards to Emergency Braking Distance The answer to the question posed is not an easy one to answer. There is NO set distance that is specified. Service braking distance from 100/125 mph equates to 2240 yards, this giving the best performance whilst ensuring a large degree of passenger comfort, and ensuring that no-one standing or walking is thrown off balance.

Emergency braking distances have many variables which will include, gradient, speed, weather conditions, rail-head conditions (water, grease, etc), condition of the brake pads, time since last service brake applications (potential disc-fade), actual weight, and a list of other items. Taken broadly a train should be able to stop well within 1220 yards on a flat gradient in good weather, with no rail-head contamination.

Travelling at 100 mph a train will be moving at 146 feet per second (about 55 yards per second), at 125 mph this figure is 176 feet per second (around 59 yards per second).

Sky Wave
10th Nov 2004, 03:38
Astrodome, BRL was correct about the CCTV crossings.
The picture goes off as soon as the crossing clear button is pressed. There is certainly no requirement for a signaller to monitor the crossing once he has confirmed that the barriers are down and the crossing is clear.

If a car were to hit the barriers after crossing clear has been pressed it should break the boom proving circuit causing a failed alarm and automatically return the protecting signals to danger.

radeng
10th Nov 2004, 09:46
I don't understand why half barriers, anyway. An AHB crossing control system with full barriers, could stop people going round the half barrier.

If anyone remembers the Colwich crash, where a Manchester bound train over ran signals and was on a crossing when hit at speed by a London bound express, you may remember the remarkably low death and injury toll. That was a locomotive hauled train with Mark III rolling stock........One can't help wondering what the effects on an HST (or a Pendolino, for that matter) of another Hixon type crash on an AHB. I suspect it wouldn't be any better, despite the crash resistance requirements, and could possibly be worse.

The comment about the points making things worse sounds very valid. At the end of the day, though, rail and air transport are the safest means around.

Astrodome
10th Nov 2004, 09:57
My comments regarding the level crossing monitor were made on the basis of having been a supervisor, and manager, responsible for signalmen, and operations on two areas with the greatest number of level crossings in the old BR system.

tony draper
10th Nov 2004, 09:59
Don't understand the bit about the CCTV turning off after the crossing has cleared, I have installed systems like that, and it just adds another layer of complexity that can go wrong, this is usually only done when there is a local monitor visible to the public at the site being covered, and the video signal is switched off mainly to stop Joe public leaping about in front of the camera and watching themselves on said local monitor, don't see why this would be a prob at level crossings, being that there would be no local monitor at the site.

BRL
10th Nov 2004, 10:39
Astro, with the greatest of respect, I have seen it happen with my own eyes. I used to work at Littlehaven(between Horsham and Three Bridges) in the box on the platorm there and when I passed out for that box I was sent to Three Bridges Power box for the day. I sat on panel 5, as the next section to mine went on to them. Anyhow, at Crawley, there are two, full barrier crossings to the west of the station, and it is these full barrier crossings where I seen this happen all day. The monitors go off when the barriers are down and locked/secure.

Astrodome
10th Nov 2004, 11:06
I think you have confused the term "Crossing".

There are two types of "crossing". One refers to a "Level Crossing" (usually shortened to "Crossing") the other relates to the 'V' shaped section of rail which allows the rail wheel to cross from one line to another.

In the collision at Colwich the Down train ran onto the diamond crossing which led from Down Fast to the Down Stoke lines.

The reason that full barriers are not installed at AHB level crossings is to prevent a vehicle becoming trapped by the automatic operation of the barriers, thus the barrier arm is on the approach side, with no barrier on the exit side.

Contrary to popular belief, road users still try to run through full barrier crossings, and have been known to attempt to lift them by hand.

Phoenix09
10th Nov 2004, 11:07
Just out of interest following Onan's query about the use of mixed measurements the following is an extract from the HSE Interim Report issued today.

The crossing is 43 miles 39 chains from Paddington in a rural area of
Berkshire. The line is signalled by Track Circuit Block with Automatic
Signalling from Network Rail’s Reading Signalling Centre. The line in the area
of the crossing is generally level. Down trains approach the crossing on a
slight right hand curve before the line straightens and passes over the
crossing and reaches a facing point for the Down Goods Loop at 43 miles 44
chains. At 43 miles 60 chains the line curves to the left and runs towards
Aldermaston station. Line speed through the crossing is 100 mph.

9. Ufton Level Crossing is a standard AHB crossing. This type of crossing
is protected by road traffic light signals and a lifting half-barrier on both sides
of the railway. The crossing equipment is initiated automatically by an
approaching train at the strike in point (1743 metres before the crossing),
and the lowering of the barriers is preceded by the display of road traffic light
signals.

Miles, chains and metres all within two paragraphs! I didn't think that anybody actually used chains as a unit of measurement anymore!

The full report can be found here. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/10_11_04_crash_hse_interim.pdf)

ramsrc
10th Nov 2004, 11:08
I didn't think that anybody actually used chains as a unit of measurement anymore! They still do on the railway.

Astrodome
10th Nov 2004, 11:22
I guess we are talking about differing practices here.

The original CCTV systems used to shut off the monitor once the 'Crossing Clear' button is pressed, in order to preserve the life of the dsiplay tube. There has always been an over-ride button to allow continued viewing of the crossing until the barriers are again raised

Certainly on Eastern and Midland where I have worked the practice has been to press the over-ride button and for the Signalman to monitor the crossing.

This is the practice followed in Doncaster PSB and ECML gate boxes as late as a few months when I was last there.

However before the subject gets too far off track (pardon the pun) there is NO requirement for a Signalman to monitor the crossing once confirmed clear. I know that you will know this but others will not.

The purpose of the 'Boom Deflected' alarm is to alert the Signalman to a potential infringement of the Level Crossing by a road vehicle.

In addition any attempt to raise the barrier will cause the 'Barrier Down' detection circuit to break and will restore the protecting signal to Danger. There is no specific alarm for this.

eal401
10th Nov 2004, 11:24
WTF is a "chain" in real measurements? Or at least measurements most people would understand. ;)

Rollingthunder
10th Nov 2004, 11:28
80 chains = 1 statute mile = 320 rods = 5,280 ft

A surveyors measurement.

Astrodome
10th Nov 2004, 11:28
Yes miles and chains are still used on all parts of the Railway for track length measurement EXCEPT the Scottish Region, where they use miles and yards.

In recent years new infrastructure layout drawings for renewals are being produced in dual Imperial / metric units.

All other measurements, such as track gauge, Overhead Line Equipment Contact Wire heights, loading gauges, structure clearances, etc. have been in metric for some time now.

3 feet = 1 Yard

22 yards = 1 Chain

80 Chains = 1 Mile

1 Mile = 5280 feet / 1760 Yards

66 Feet = 1 Chain

Phoenix09
10th Nov 2004, 11:30
WTF is a "chain" in real measurements? Or at least measurements most people would understand.

22 yards... I am sure that I learnt at some stage that 1 chain is equal to the length of cricket pitch but I still had to look it up.

Onan the Clumsy
10th Nov 2004, 12:01
Ever hear of a Yell? I thought it was a medieval Scottish length similar to a yard, but it's not in the Dictionary of Units of Measurement (http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/) :8


More on the Chain:Degree (°) - a measure of curvature of railroad tracks or highways. When railroad tracks follow an arc of a circle, the angle of curvature is the angle (measured at the center of the circle) spanned by a chord of a standard length. In the U.S., the chord used is the U.S. chain of 100 feet (30.48 meters). In Britain, the traditional chord was the British (Gunter's) chain of 66 feet (20.12 meters). In the metric world, a chord of 20 meters is used. On most rail lines curvatures are less than 6°; on high speed lines they are less than 2°. For highways in the U.S., the angle of curvature is the angle (measured at the center of the circle) spanned by an arc 100 ft long.

which links toChain (ch) - a unit of distance formerly used by surveyors. The traditional British surveyor's chain, also called Gunter's chain because it was introduced by the English mathematician Edmund Gunter (1581-1626) in 1620, is 4 rods long: that's equal to exactly 1/80 mile, 1/10 furlong, 22 yards, or 66 feet (20.1168 meters). The traditional length of a cricket pitch is 1 chain. Gunter's chain has the useful property that an acre is exactly 10 square chains. The chain was divided into 100 links. American surveyors sometimes used a longer chain of 100 feet, known as the engineer's chain or Ramsden's chain. (However, Gunter's chain is also used in the U.S.; in fact, it is an important unit in the Public Lands Survey System.) In Texas, the vara chain of 2 varas (55.556 ft) was used in surveying Spanish land grants. In the metric world, surveyors often use a chain of 20 meters (65.617 ft).


Finally, if flying and rail are the safest methods of transport, will they ever invent a flying train?

tony draper
10th Nov 2004, 12:16
Ah right, that might explain it then Astrodome,high contrast monochrome CCTV monitors did have a pretty short tube life, as one well knows having had to retube many of the buggas , they were also subject to a static image being burnt on to the tube which could be confusing.

PaperTiger
10th Nov 2004, 16:09
Does an emergency brake application automatically isolate the traction motors on the rear power car ? Both this accident and Great Heck seem to have been exacerbated by the train continuing to be pushed, or was it just the inertia ?

PilotsPal
10th Nov 2004, 16:19
It is now expected that the total compensation payout in respect of this accident is likely to be around the £30 million mark. As initial reports indicate Mr Drysdale was not in possession of valid insurance, guess who's going to pay? The estimate is 50p on every car insurance policy in the country.

VFE
10th Nov 2004, 16:44
Baffled me how that the insurance company of the guy who fell asleep and drove onto the railway causing that terrible accident a couple of years back were forced to pay circa £30M when the average public liability cover on your average car insurance policy only runs to around £10M. That particular driver commented on a recent TV documentary that he hoped the insurance company weren't going to tap him for it!

Looks like the level of cover your insurance documents stipulate is a load of rubbish - but working in insurance - I already know this. :} ;)

VFE.

BRL
10th Nov 2004, 17:59
Does an emergency brake application automatically isolate the traction motors on the rear power car ? The power and brake handle on a HST are the same thing. To apply the emergency brake would mean moving the power handle off power and into brake. From all the way back(power on) to all the way forward(brakes on).

Sky Wave
10th Nov 2004, 18:55
Astrodome

I don't doubt your experience. I can't say that I have ever worked on the ECML so I cannot comment on that region. I am also very aware of how differently regions do things from each other. I have worked in signal boxes and panels all over the Southern and Western regions and I was involved in the commissioning of Mitre Bridge Level Crossing when Wembley Main Line Signalling centre was commissioned and I can assure you that the current practice is for the picture to go off when crossing clear is pressed. The reason is because of screen burning. I've seen screens where the road markings are as clear with the monitor off as they are with it on! You are correct that you can press the picture button again and get the picture back however I've only ever known it be done if someone wanted to look at the train or if a problem is suspected.

BRL

Sorry, got to disagree about the HST power and brake handle. They are either side of the drivers knee's, Brake on the left and power on the right. :oh:
As far as the damage is concerned I suspect it the momentum of the heavy power car that causes the damage when the leading vehicles come to an abrupt halt.

BahrainLad
10th Nov 2004, 19:33
Just out of interest, do any of you think that a type of articulated train design (such as used by the TGV/Eurostar) would have had any effect on the death toll in this case?

I seem to recall that this was one of the criticisms of the ICE design after the Eschede crash because the train bunched up against the fallen road-bridge.

Astrodome
10th Nov 2004, 21:36
If the brake controller is placed into the brake position on any train, it will cause the power to be shut off.

In the case of the HST the brake system (from memory) is electronically linked through the power controller such that the brake controller has to be in release or running before power can be applied. Train wire 32 ring a bell??

The media have gotten this impression about the power unit at the rear 'forcing' a train forward in a collision or derailment but that is of practically no effect.

As with anothe rthread on here, it is a case of the media misunderstanding or (as is more the case) being totally unable to comprehend the method of operation...and in any case why let the facts spoil a good scare story at breakfast time.

Sky Wave The weight of the power car is about 70 tonnes if memory serves me correctly...I really should remember having been taught these things!!...It equates to about two vehicles and I doubt that that level of weight has any effect against the 300 odd tonnes between it and the leading power car.
If I remember correctly this particular hare got out of the bag after Polmont and we never managed to get it back in again. Totally impossible to even try to educate the media about derailment theory and force disappation, even though any relatively intelligent teenager can easily understand the topic.

BRL
10th Nov 2004, 22:16
Sky Wave. I stand corrected. It has been a long time since i thrashed a HST. I am confusing them with most of the newer trains where everything is done with the left hand.

Astrodome. The units I drive will allow you to take power if the brake is in step one. If the brake is placed in step two or three then the power gets cut off automatically. Same as pulling away, you can't take power in step two or three.
I seem to remember an incident a long time ago involving a 'Thumper' (205/7) that hit something and stopped dead except the rear coach that had the engine in it, that carried on and the middle coach ended up off the road same as the power car.

Astrodome
10th Nov 2004, 22:41
Guys, can you check your PM's sometime between this Fri and Mon please

BRL
10th Nov 2004, 23:10
Ok.

Whilst we are here, anyone know how the Eurostar coaches remain upright in an event of a derailment? How does that one work?

Onan the Clumsy
11th Nov 2004, 02:35
I am confusing them with most of the newer trains where everything is done with the left hand. Maybe I should apply for a job then :}

:ugh:

BahrainLad
11th Nov 2004, 09:12
Ok.

Whilst we are here, anyone know how the Eurostar coaches remain upright in an event of a derailment? How does that one work?

Articulated construction, see post above.

BRL
11th Nov 2004, 10:39
BahrainLad, I see that post but wanted a bit more detail..!!

Astrodome, can't you PM us now, the suspence is killing me..? :}

BahrainLad
11th Nov 2004, 11:57
What Makes the Train Special?
Looking at the train itself, the most striking aspect, to the newcomer, is the aerodynamic styling of the nose. But that is not where the innovation lies. Perhaps the most interesting feature of a TGV trainset is its articulation. The cars are not merely coupled together; instead, they are semi-permanently attached to each other, with the ends of two adjacent cars resting on a common two-axle truck. It is thus more appropriate to speak of 'trailers' than of 'cars'.

There are several good reasons for this design. Perhaps the most obvious is that the TGV was designed from the beginning to be a very lightweight train; even with an axle load limit of only 17 metric tons, it made sense to reduce the number of axles. Placing the wheels between the trailers also reduces interior noise levels, provides more space and a higher plane for the suspension, and improves aerodynamics (due to the lower height and small inter-trailer gaps). Articulation of the train also allows adjacent trailers to be dynamically coupled by dampers, and makes possible a clean, quiet passage from one trailer to the next. Articulation has also proved to be an important safety feature, preventing TGV trains from jack-knifing in a collision as a conventional train might.

I suppose it's fairly simple...the carriages are held together with the strength of a bogie, rather than the strength of a coupler. By definition, one is stronger than the other.

simon brown
11th Nov 2004, 18:13
The HS 125 has an aerodynamically designed front with no buffers. Speculation I know but the train may have ridden over the car engine block without "punting" the vehicle out of the way, and the initial de railment combined with the power car still pushing the carriages through momentarily may have resulted in the total de railment as opposed to a partial one.

I wonder if it had been an old Brush type diesel (no im not a spotter)with buffers, pulling the carriages or a goods train, whether the result would have been the same

uffington sb
11th Nov 2004, 19:41
Re AHB's CCTV crossings. Down my neck of the woods, the crossing keeper only keeps the monitors on to check that the crossing is clear and then turns them off. Reason is to save the tubes and in any case, if the barriers gt lifted or moved, the alarm would go off and the signals would revert to danger. I only have one AHB on my patch, and like all crossings, is inspected every month, timings,phones etc. The AHB has a phone monitor in the box, and if it detects a phone fault, trains are stopped and cautioned until an attendant gets in place to act as a point of contact for crossing users.
In the case of saturdays crash, there wouldn't have been time once the barriers had dropped,for the signaller to put back the signals seeing that on a TCB line, they are normally 'Off', independant from the AHB.

Sky Wave
15th Nov 2004, 13:26
No PM recieved yet.