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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Near miss on rail track during power cut

A DRIVER had a lucky escape after narrowly avoiding being hit by a train.

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SNAPPED: A broken telegraph pole at Kirkby. There was a power cut affecting the village

The near-miss happened on the level crossing at Sandside in Kirkby on Friday night, during a night-long power cut in the Furness village.

The incident was witnessed by Leon Tambling, who was out taking pictures of the village during the power cut to show his disabled father-in-law.

He said the car was driving towards Angerton Farm at around 10.20pm when it had the near-miss.

Mr Tambling, who was visiting his wife’s parents on a two-week holiday from his home in Birmingham, said: “My in-laws live in Sandside, which overlooks the railway line, and I was taking pictures just outside their home.

“I was stood on the wall when my father-in-law shouted ‘here’s the last train of the day’, I think it was the 10.20pm from Millom into Kirkby.

“I was looking down as it was coming in, and by the farm I could see some headlights. And I remember thinking, ‘there’s a car on the railway line’.

“Then all I heard was a loud, continuous blast of the horn from the train, and then the train didn’t appear where it had been due to. It had come to a standstill.

“The car then reversed off the lines and then the train started up again. I think they just didn’t realise the train was coming. It really was a near miss.

“I just thought, ‘my God’, this train’s going to hit the car. There’s nothing you can do, you can only watch, you’re just powerless to do anything.

“Luckily in this case, it didn’t turn out that way. The train driver was obviously very alert. It could have ended up worse.”

British Transport Police said the incident had not been reported to them, but cases like this could go unreported if the train driver had not had to apply his or her emergency breaks.

On the same night, 555 homes lost their electricity during a 10-hour power cut.

During the power cut, Mr Tambling went out to take pictures of a snapped electricity pole outside his in-laws’ house.

He was alerted to the broken pole, which was burning and smouldering, after the power cut out in their home at around 5.45pm.

Mr Tambling said: “One of the neighbours came round and said ‘look at the powerline’, and right outside the window, an electric pole had snapped off and it had knocked all the power out. You could just see it smouldering away”

Mr Tambling said engineers turned up within 40 minutes of the power going down, but that they had to wait for specialist equipment to arrive in order to put in a new pole.

He said the equipment arrived at around 9.40pm, and the power came back on at 3.32am on Saturday morning.

Polly Rourke, spokeswoman for Electricity North West, which owns the region’s electricity distribution network, said: “At 5.44pm on Friday, we lost power to 555 customers.

“There seems to have been a fault at the top of an overhead electricity line pole, which caused some burn damage to the top of the pole.

“The automatic switch kicked in, and switched everybody off.

“We managed to get most people back on using the automatic switch system, we had 468 back on within the hour.

“Of the remainder, most of them were back on at around 3.32am the next morning, after our engineers replaced the pole.

“We apologise to everyone who was affected for any disruption caused.”

Have your say

Why do they need barriers at all level crossings? When you see a red light at traffic lights you stop and they don't need barriers.
Whatever next barrierd pelican crossings?!
If it is a crossing without barriers there is a phone by it to call the signaller to check it's clear. Simples!
It seems that everyone points the finger at Network Rail for unmannned/unbarrierd 'dangerous' level crossings when it's people who do not apply caution and common sense that are the danger.
The train will always come better off in an incident so it's in everyones interest to be cautious and careful when using crossings.

Posted by Hans Von Stuckapilot on 6 July 2010 at 22:13

Would probably depend how many car lengths away the train stopped and the breaking distance of the train involved. Plus if any delay was caused to the service as a result of an obstruction. Its probably fair to say that the driver averted a near miss situation and therefore is why it would probably go unreported.

Posted by john jenks on 6 July 2010 at 14:58

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