Near-miss on level crossing at Farnborough North

Rail accident investigators are assessing a near-miss incident on a pedestrian level crossing in Hampshire. 

A “large group” of pedestrians came within five seconds of being struck by a Great Western Railway train at 70mph beside Farnborough North station. The incident happened at 0822 on May 19. The train driver sounded the horn and applied emergency braking. 

The footpath crossing is fitted with gates and miniature stop lights, which show red to pedestrians as a train approaches. The gates are also fitted with magnetic locks, which are operated by a level crossing attendant between 0530 and 0030 daily. 

The locks are intended to prevent an already-closed gate from being opened by users whenever a red light shows. 

The train from Gatwick Airport to Reading would normally have stopped at Farnborough North, but had become a non-stopping service owing to earlier disruption on the North Downs Line. That meant the train did not appear on passenger information screens on the platforms. 

In a statement, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch said: “Our investigation will also consider the method of working at this crossing, including the role of the level crossing attendant, and this history of this crossing, including the response to previous incidents and how plans to replace it were realised.” 

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