Level crossings inquiry: Safety of Wraysholme junction near Flookburgh set to be examined

The Westmorland Gazette: Wraysholme level crossing near Flookburgh Wraysholme level crossing near Flookburgh

AN inquiry is to be held into the safety of thousands of level crossings across the UK - including a South Lakeland junction where an Ulverston man died.

The Transport Select Committee has bowed to pressure from campaign groups by agreeing to examine 8,000 crossings after a spate of fatal incidents.

It is likely the investigation will look at Wraysholme level crossing on the Furness line near Flookburgh, the scene of two serious accidents.

Locals have campaigned for years for barriers to be fitted to the junction, saying the flashing warning lights alone are not enough.

In November 2008, Jonathon Crabtree, of Ulverston, was killed after his Mitsubishi was hit by a Carlisle to Lancaster train.

An inquest into the 41-year-old’s death heard he may not have seen warning signals due to ‘sub-standard’ bulbs.

Nine months earlier, two men were hurt when their 4x4 was hit on the same crossing, leaving their vehicle a crumpled wreck.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) called for the safety review.

PACTS executive director David Davis said: “PACTS is very pleased that the Transport Select Committee has taken up our suggestion to hold an inquiry into safety at level crossings.

“This will put the parliamentary spotlight on one of the most critical areas of rail safety. PACTS will do all it can to support the committee in this important inquiry.”

David Morris, a former deputy chief inspector of railways and chairman of PACTS’ rail safety working party, said it was ‘entirely appropriate’ the committee looked at the issue.

He said: “Level crossings represent the largest single risk of catastrophic train accidents on Britain's rail network.”

Six people died in level crossing accidents in 2012, three of which involved vehicles being struck by trains.

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