Family’s campaign to make rail crossing safer

John Dawn and Tracy Hart the father and sister of Phil Dawn who was killed by a train on the Kings Mill crossing have started a petition to hand to Network Rail calling for a bridge to be built on the crossing.

John Dawn and Tracy Hart the father and sister of Phil Dawn who was killed by a train on the Kings Mill crossing have started a petition to hand to Network Rail calling for a bridge to be built on the crossing.

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The family of a Kirkby man who died after being hit by a train have launched a petition calling for Network Rail to build a bridge across the Sutton rail crossing.

Phil Dawn (34), of Lindleys Lane, was killed by a train while cycling across the King’s Mill crossing, near King’s Mill reservoir, in May 2012.

Phil Dawn, who was killed by a train at the Kings Mill Crossing in May 2012.

Phil Dawn, who was killed by a train at the Kings Mill Crossing in May 2012.

At the inquest into his death, a verdict of accidental death was returned, but concerns were raised about the safety of the crossing.

Phil’s family now wants to see drastic safety improvements made - with a bridge over the line being built - and are urging residents to sign a petition calling for this work to be done.

His dad John Dawn (63), of Portland Avenue, Annesley Woodhouse, said: “I think it’s time Network Rail took responsibility for the public’s safety and not the other way round - not the public having to take their safety into their own hands just to get from one side to the other.

“This is the way for them to do that.”

King’s Mill crossing is well-used by pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooter users and was identified as ‘high risk’ in the two risk assessments that have been carried out on the crossing since 2007.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into Phil’s death states that two months before it happened, Network Rail ‘accepted the need to replace the crossing with a bridge’.

But no source of funding was identified and no feasibility study carried out.

It has also not installed red/green stop lights to warn crossing users of approaching trains, as advised in the first report.

Phil’s family are ‘disgusted’ that Network Rail ignored the findings of its own risk assessments and did not even put interim measures in place to make the crossing safe for the public to use.

“It makes me feel sick, the grief that we are going through and it doesn’t get any better,” said his sister Tracy Hart (40), of Park Avenue, Annesley Woodhouse.

A father of three, Phil was cycling home from work when he was hit by the train.

It is thought he was wearing headphones and did not hear the train’s horn and he was wearing a hooded top, obscuring his peripheral vision.

However the angle of the crossing and the bend in the railway line both contributed to Phil not seeing the train.

Since the accident, Network Rail has straightened the crossing so it takes less time to cross and has put in an automatic warning horn which sounds as a train approaches.

Tracy said: “We have probably done more to make people aware of the dangers of the crossing than Network Rail has.

“You’re not aware of them until something like this happens to you.”

She added: “The improvements that have been made, to me, are not enough.

“There’s no bridge, no flashing lights - you are relying on this horn to go off and people not to be distracted and to hear it.”

The petition calling for the bridge can be found by clicking here or a paper copy can be signed at the Chad office.

The family hope that a bridge that could potentially save lives would be the lasting legacy of Phil’s tragic death.

John added: “None of these crossing should be dangerous for people, that’s the bottom line.

“People should be able to go from one side to the other without being at risk of being hit by a train.”

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero is backing the family’s campaign.

She submitted written evidence and questions from Tracy to the Transport Select Committee, which is looking into Network Rail’s safety record.

“MPs from across all parties met as the inquiry heard oral and written evidence from families who have also been affected by similar tragedies and how more safety measures are needed at crossings,” she said.

The committee will publish a report on the subject in the new year.

A Network Rail spokesman said they were aware of the petition but at this point have no plans for a bridge at the Kings Mill crossing.