Bagillt (1)

A high-speed passenger train narrowly missed crashing into a 60-tonne HGV at a level crossing in Flintshire, prompting concerns about Network Rail’s management processes.

An investigation into the incident, which occurred in Bagillt in August 2018, found that the abnormal vehicle was given clearance to use the crossing without signal protection.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said a person assisting the driver of the articulated lorry, which was hauling a semi-trailer equipped with a large ram and loading crane and had a combined weight of 60.5-tonnes, was alarmed to see an approaching train and had to run off the crossing.

The train, a Manchester Piccadilly to Holyhead service, was travelling at 75mph and missed colliding with the HGV by approximately one minute.

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The RAIB’s investigation found that the crossing user did not describe the road vehicle as large when speaking with the signaller for line clearance.

The signaller did not establish the size of the lorry and the signaller was unaware of the high probability that users of the Bagillt crossing would be driving large vehicles.

It said Network Rail does not have a coherent or consistent level crossing risk management process for deciding whether a vehicle should be treated as large, low or slow-moving.

The RAIB recommended that Network Rail carries out a review of the way it manages the risk of large vehicle movements across user worked crossings equipped with telephones.

It added: “People requesting permission to take a road vehicle over a user worked level crossing should carefully explain the type of vehicle, state when it is large or slow moving and provide a realistic crossing time.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The safety of all those who use the railway network is always paramount and we take this incident very seriously.

“We have worked closely with the [RAIB] on their report of the incident.

“The investigation has made recommendations and we will consider, in depth, what steps we can take to further improve on our safety measures.”

Malcolm Bingham, FTA head of road network management policy, told “We would like to see all rail crossings made safe, with action taken where a fault or danger exists or individuals have behaved irresponsibly.

“All incidents – including this near miss in Flintshire – must be investigated fully.”