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Investigation reopened into death on Lady Howard Rail Crossing - Update 7th February 2024

An investigation has been reopened into the death of an elderly woman who was struck by a train on a level crossing.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said "new evidence has been made available" since it published its report into the incident near Ashtead, Surrey, in April last year.

The 85-year-old victim, not named in the report, was walking on a footpath and bridleway crossing.

The original RAIB report, published in February concluded that the woman had been unable to see the train because it was hidden by another train going the other way.

Update 7th February 2024 (Source BBC News)

Network Rail did not consider "alternative options" to make a crossing less risky while waiting for stop lights to be installed, according to an updated report into the death of a woman struck by a train.

The 85-year-old had been crossing the tracks near Ashtead, Surrey. She had been unable to see the train because it was hidden by another train going the other way, the report said. Network Rail says it has "accepted" the recommendations.

The victim was hit by a second Southern train travelling at 62mph (99km/h) in the opposite direction in the April 2022 incident.

'Unacceptable risk'

New evidence in the reopened investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) heard that although Network Rail had planned to install stop lights at the crossing to alert pedestrians, the lights had been delayed.

The original report released by the RAIB in February 2023 said Network Rail knew the crossing posed an "unacceptable risk". RAIB's updated report said Network Rail had not considered "alternative options" to mitigate the risk while waiting for lights to be installed.

It also had not considered applying for a derogation - or relaxation of the rule - which would have allowed it to fit a simpler version of the stop light system.

Changes made

The revised report suggests Network Rail should check whether it is possible to check for derogations to reduce risk in future.

A Network Rail spokesperson said it accepted the recommendations in the report.

"We've already made changes at this location including installing new miniature stop lights, and designing, developing and fitting new industry-standard signage which became law last year, alerting people to the possibility that an oncoming train may be hidden by another train."Network Rail have advised us that the planned installation of Miniature Stop Lights (MSLs) at Lady Howard is still on schedule. All scoping work has been completed and works start in late November with commissioning for completion in January 2024.



 

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