A KIRKBY man who was killed by a train on a level crossing, rode into its path on his bike and was unaware of its approach, a report has found.
The Department of Transport’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has identified a number of reasons why the fatal accident happened at the King’s Mill No.1 level crossing on 2nd May last year.
Its report into the incident states that cyclist Phillip Dawn (34), of Lindleys Lane, was ‘probably wearing earphones which may have prevented him from hearing the train’, with witnesses describing that a pair of earphones with music playing ‘loudly’ was found on his body.
The East Midlands Train - the 15.55 from Nottingham to Mansfield Woodhouse - had sounded its horn but he ‘did not appear to react’ to it.
CCTV shows that Mr Dawn ‘did not look towards the approaching train’ once on the crossing and he was wearing a hood which would have made it difficult to do so.
The investigation found that this crossing, which is on the Kings Mill Lane bridleway between Sutton and Mansfield, has limited sighting of trains travelling to Mansfield from the Hermitage Lane side, because of the curvature of the line and the angle of it.
It relies on a train’s horn to warn people of an approaching train, but the point at which drivers are told to sound their horn was found to be ‘insufficient’, not giving users enough time to cross the line because the speed trains travel on it has increased. The crossing did not comply with rail industry guidance.
Since the accident, Network Rail has taken action to make the Kings Mill crossing safer. It has straightened the crossing deck to reduce crossing time for users and added more warning signs.
An audible warning device was fitted at the crossing and this sounds as trains approach to warn people who want to cross. A speed restriction of 40mph has been imposed over the crossing.
RAIB reports are done to improve railway safety. They do not assign fault or blame, or determine liability.