Author Topic: Car damage from railway crossing barrier  (Read 397 times)

0 Members and 0 Guests are viewing this topic.

Spinstorm

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« on: November 23, 2023, 07:37:46 pm »
Tonight I have encountered a very annoying and unexpected scenario.

I was waiting in traffic by Addlestone station crossing.

https://maps.app.goo.gl/ZCXv6m4EFMbsg3Zc6?g_st=ic

The top of my front windscreen just after the windscreen but before the sunroof was in line with the barrier.

Maybe 5-10 meters from the track.

The lights changed to red and were flashing and the car in front of me went through.

Iím not an idiot and didnít even attempt it but then the barrier came down on top of me. I was unable to reverse back or prepared to move forward.

I had a bystander hold the barrier up and the cars behind moved back so I was able to reverse after they saw this.

This has caused damage to my car. Iíve complained to network rail.

Any thoughts on if I can get them to pay for car repairs?

It scratched the paint in the area right through to the metal in a few places. Although the actual area of damage wasnít massive.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Like Like x 1 View List

tonys

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2023, 08:59:42 pm »
Level crossing signals show solid Amber for a few seconds before the flashing Red start, plenty of time to either stop or clear the crossing if it's really too late to stop. Unless the barrier moved out of sequence I don't see a hope in hell.

andy_foster

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 288
  • Karma: +4/-1
  • Location: Reading
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2023, 09:36:12 pm »
If the car in front of the OP went through on red, I struggle to see how the OP could have gone through on amber.
What the OP has not told us is where his car was when the amber light was first showing.
I am responsible for the accuracy of the information I post, not your ability to comprehend it.

Spinstorm

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2023, 09:55:33 pm »
As far as Iím aware it was off when I was stationary. To be clear when I was sitting there behind the car in front the lights were not on. As I was waiting it changed Amber and I had no where to go. The car in front decided to chance it by driving through (no doubt worried about the barrier hitting them although there were still behind the train line  safely in my option).

I was not moving while the lights were on as I was in sat in stationary traffic.

Could I have stayed behind the white line? Maybe. As the lights were off when I stopped I didnít expect to be stuck there when the barriers came down. Nevertheless surely the barrier should not lower when a vehicle is there.

This was just a question of bad timing. I do not know if there is CCTV of the crossing and if it will support my account but the train didnít show up for around 4 minutes after the barrier landed on my car. That to me suggests it was lowered too soon and maybe even manually lowered by an operator not paying attention (although I cannot see anywhere a person could be present looking at Google maps).
« Last Edit: November 23, 2023, 09:59:01 pm by Spinstorm »

Daim456

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2023, 10:21:52 pm »
That level crossing has CCTV. The operator would check on CCTV to see if the line is clear of any vehicle or pedestrians before the secondary barriers are lowered.

From your account you look like you crossed the white line while in traffic.

Why did you not wait behind the white line until the vehicle in front of you have cleared the level crossing?

DWMB2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 646
  • Karma: +17/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2023, 10:24:06 pm »
Could I have stayed behind the white line? Maybe.
I imagine this is what Network Rail will rely on if challenged - They'll possibly refer to rule #291 of the Highway Code which says "Never drive onto a crossing until the road is clear on the other side", and might argue that driving past the white line is driving 'onto' the crossing.

andy_foster

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 288
  • Karma: +4/-1
  • Location: Reading
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2023, 11:13:59 pm »
This was just a question of bad timing. I do not know if there is CCTV of the crossing and if it will support my account but the train didnít show up for around 4 minutes after the barrier landed on my car. That to me suggests it was lowered too soon and maybe even manually lowered by an operator not paying attention (although I cannot see anywhere a person could be present looking at Google maps).

Ignoring the issue of seemingly excessively early application of the prohibition on crossing, I would expect the operation of the barrier to be more concerned with whether a train was approaching than whether there was a car under the barrier.

Regardless of whether you would have had time to change all 4 wheels and still cross safely before the train got there, crossing a level crossing against a red light is considered to be extremely dangerous - because Physics.

If you think that they shouldn't have lowered the barrier while your car was underneath it, what do you suggest should have happened - assuming that you could not reverse, should they have left it up in order for you to cross the level crossing on red, or left it up while the train was passing in the hope that neither you nor anyone else would attempt to cross as the barrier was still in the raised position?

Also, what DWMB2 said.
I am responsible for the accuracy of the information I post, not your ability to comprehend it.

sparxy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • [im00000-23421a]
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2023, 11:36:22 pm »
Quote
It scratched the paint in the area right through to the metal in a few places. Although the actual area of damage wasnít massive.

That's quite a long scratch considering you didn't move with the barrier on top of you... Were the white lines all intact, and not faded to an extent you couldn't see them?

IMO take it on the chin, get it repaired, and don't proceed over the white lines at level crossings unless your exit is clear and you can move straight into it. You'd have had far more damage than that scratch if the train had whacked ya.

That is, if the markings are in the correct place!
« Last Edit: November 23, 2023, 11:41:55 pm by sparxy »

Spinstorm

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2023, 11:56:17 pm »
The reason the scratches are quite long is because the bottom section of the barrier moves so when it hit my car it moved sideways causing it.

On the white lines point I accept I should have waited but honestly I didn’t expect to get stuck where I was as there was no traffic the other side of the crossing. I’m still not sure why there was a traffic jam where I was as it was!

However I do accept that crossing past the line was my fault and that may well be the argument they use against me assuming they even do respond to my complaint.

If that crossing is CCTV controlled then that means the operator chose to bring it down - not only 4 minutes before the train arrives but on top of my car.

The question about what else would they be able to do is a good question. I don’t know if each side of the crossing it able to be  lowered separately or not. But I was stationary and there was a queue of cars behind me. If that barrier had stayed up no one would have gone ahead of me. And they could maybe have still lowered the other side. But regardless of if each side was able to be controlled separately I’m sure the operator decided that they would be in more trouble NOT lowering the barriers than hiting my car.

The only good side of this is the damage isn’t in a super obvious place and it might be repairable by smart repair (but if it isn’t then it would cost 1000s as it’s the whole roof assembly would have to be removed to re-spray it). In the meantime I had blue touch up paint so I’ve covered the area temporarily.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2023, 11:58:31 pm by Spinstorm »

Southpaw82

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 248
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2023, 12:12:50 am »
You could always let your insurance deal with it. If they think they can recover from Network Rail then no doubt theyíll try.

sparxy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • [im00000-23421a]
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2023, 01:06:19 am »
On the white lines point I accept I should have waited but honestly I didnít expect to get stuck where I was as there was no traffic the other side of the crossing. Iím still not sure why there was a traffic jam where I was as it was!

But the vehicle in front of you was preventing you from passing the crossing, so IMO you should not have proceeded past the white line, regardless of if there was a traffic jam or not. What if there was a train with a much wider load passing through?

Quote
However I do accept that crossing past the line was my fault and that may well be the argument they use against me assuming they even do respond to my complaint.

Absolutely. If there was defective markings or some other cause then yes, even I would be looking for someone to pay for the damage. But in this case I think perhaps it is a learning point and something you would not do again.

Quote
If that crossing is CCTV controlled then that means the operator chose to bring it down - not only 4 minutes before the train arrives but on top of my car.

I bet the view from CCTV would not clearly show your car in the way of the barrier (cameras situated at an angle which does not show), or that the barrier is automated from a closing/opening point of view, and the operator just checks that the lines themselves are clear.

4 minutes is not unheard of, there are several crossings here where you can be waiting for 5 mins+ (and also one crossing where the amber lights never used to work, but they've now fixed that).

tonys

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2023, 07:39:17 am »
If that crossing is CCTV controlled then that means the operator chose to bring it down - not only 4 minutes before the train arrives but on top of my car.

The question about what else would they be able to do is a good question. I donít know if each side of the crossing it able to be  lowered separately or not. But I was stationary and there was a queue of cars behind me. If that barrier had stayed up no one would have gone ahead of me. And they could maybe have still lowered the other side. But regardless of if each side was able to be controlled separately Iím sure the operator decided that they would be in more trouble NOT lowering the barriers than hiting my car.
The 4 minutes before the train arrived suggests a signal interlinked (interlocked?) crossing, where the railway signals can't be cleared unless the barrier sequence is complete. In that case the signalman's only alternative would have been to cancel the barrier sequence, assuming that was possible, and accept the train(s) would be brought to a stop.

I suspect light and barrier sequence may be automated, the signalman just starting the sequence, rather than operating separate controls for amber, red, barriers. Their use of CCTV may be just to check the crossing is clear before clearing signals for the train.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2023, 07:41:17 am by tonys »

The Slithy Tove

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Car damage from railway crossing barrier
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2023, 07:40:35 am »
The 4 minutes before the train arrived suggests a signal interlinked (interlocked?) crossing, where the railway signals can't be cleared unless the barrier sequence is complete. In that case the signalman's only alternative would have been to cancel the barrier sequence, assuming that was possible, and accept the train(s) would be brought to a stop.

I suspect light and barrier sequence may be automated, the signalman just starting the sequence, rather than operating separate controls for amber, red, barriers. Their use of CCTV may be just to check the crossing is clear before clearing signals for the train.
On such a crossing, if the barriers were held up by anyone/anything (e.g. a car), then they won't be "proved" to be down, and the signal covering the crossing won't clear. In effect, any train approaching would have to stop until the barriers are properly down. This may well have come to the attention of the signaller, as the barriers didn't come down properly, and would probably have been logged in some way.