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NIP for crossing train level crossing **FPN of £50 and no points**


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Hopefully this is the correct forum, didn't know if it should go here or in the train section.

 

I just got the following email from my work regarding the company car I drive:

 

We have received a Notice of Intended Prosecution and request for name and address of the driver of CAR TYPE, Reg No: XXXXXX in relation to the below:

Date/Time: 31/01/14 at 11.08hrs

Location: Heath Farm Crossing, Heath Road, North Walsham, NR28 0JB

Incident: Driver of vehicle failed to contact signaller as directed by signage at location before using crossing. Vehicle crossed tracks in front of oncoming train causing driver of train to brake.

Please advise if you were driving at the time of the above incident. If so, please confirm your home address, date of birth and home telephone number. British Transport Police will then contact you directly.

Best regards

Background info about crossing:

 

You drive down a small lane to the level crossing, which has white wooden farm style gates across that you have to open the one side, walk across the tracks, open the other side gates, walk back, get in car, drive through both sets of wooden gates, get out, walk over tracks, close far side gate, walk back over tracks, close near side gate, get back in car and drive off.

 

On said date and about that time, I did this. I did not see any signage saying I need to phone anybody. After opening all the gates, I started driving towards going over the track, slowly nosing forward until I could see a train approaching, so I then rolled back into the road again (rolled slowly, not drove as train was far off). Train passed me at about 30-40mph with horn blaring (I assumed as warning he was approaching) and stopped about 100 yards further down the track, with what looked like a red signal light ahead of him in the distance.

 

So now the NIP states I caused the train to brake by crossing the track. How? I crossed the track behind the train. At no time did my car cross the track infront of the train.

 

Also, do not recall the signage, so I'm off in a few hours to take photo's of the crossing, as area is rather overgrown with bushes.

 

Any advice further what to do when I receive the NIP?

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Once you have taken your pictures, perhaps you can post them up so we can see what the crossing is like. Please include shots of any signage. In the meantime, can you give us the location please.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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IMO I would go back to the crossing and look and see if there are actually any signs stating the above.

If there are then bang to rights I'm afraid. I don't doubt there won't be.

 

Is it these gates?

http://goo.gl/maps/8LHp2

 

It seems they are called User Worked Crossings.....

https://www.translink.co.uk/Documents/Services/NI%20Railways/User%20Worked%20Crossings%20WEB.pdf

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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IMO I would go back to the crossing and look and see if there are actually any signs stating the above.

If there are then bang to rights I'm afraid. I don't doubt there won't be.

 

Is it these gates?

http://goo.gl/maps/8LHp2

 

It seems they are called User Worked Crossings.....

https://www.translink.co.uk/Documents/Services/NI%20Railways/User%20Worked%20Crossings%20WEB.pdf

 

Yes, it is that location, except I came from other direction, which Google Maps doesn't cover street level.

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Ok. I've been back and taken photos of the area. I can see why I was confused. I think in my opinion these signs were very misleading, having pictures of lorries getting stuck right by the sign saying you must phone. Also, sign obscured a lot from when in the car approaching the stopping area to get out and open the gate.

 

Level Crossing:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]49089[/ATTACH]

 

View from car:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]49090[/ATTACH]

 

View of sign from car when parked so gate can open:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]49091[/ATTACH]

 

Confusing signs?

[ATTACH=CONFIG]49092[/ATTACH]

 

The train passed me and then stopped near the grey box on the left. The signal light showing was red at the time as well, which made me think train was stopping for the red signal light:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]49093[/ATTACH]

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This is the sign I saw that I thought it meant large vehicles phone at crossing, which I see everyday on the road. This is about 50 yards from the crossing, around a small bend.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]49095[/ATTACH]

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This is what the highway code says about it;

 

User-operated gates or barriers

269. Some crossings have 'Stop' signs and small red and green lights. You MUST NOT cross when the red light is showing, only cross if the green light is on. If crossing with a vehicle, you should

 

open the gates or barriers on both sides of the crossing

check that the green light is still on and cross quickly

close the gates or barriers when you are clear of the crossing

Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD reg 10

270. If there are no lights, follow the procedure in Rule 269. Stop, look both ways and listen before you cross. If there is a railway telephone, always use it to contact the signal operator to make sure it is safe to cross. Inform the signal operator again when you are clear of the crossing.

 

This signs in your images seem to be present and at the point where you open the gate. So it would be hard to argue that you didn't notice them.

 

At this stage you should follow the instructions on the NIP and see what happens. The BTP may offer you the opportunity to provide an explanation... it's possible you may just get a warning.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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Hi Sailor Sam, thank you for your comments. To be honest, I had never seen one of these crossings before and did not know I had to phone, I had thought the sign was for large vehicles. But I know ignorance is not a defence.

 

I do however have a problem with what the NIP apparently states:

 

Driver of vehicle failed to contact signaller as directed by signage at location before using crossing. - YES,guilty.

Vehicle crossed tracks in front of oncoming train causing driver of train to brake. - FALSE. I crossed behind the train, AFTER it had stopped for the red signal light.

 

But I'll have to wait to see what instructions the NIP gives. when it arrives, can I post it on here for comment?

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Maybe it means that he saw you about to cross and had to apply the brakes?

 

Like you say, wait for the NIP to come through, but I'm not hopeful.... :sorry:

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Another thing is that there must be either CCTV footage or a still image of the incident. You should be able to request to view this.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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Another thing is that there must be either CCTV footage or a still image of the incident. You should be able to request to view this.

 

I didn't know this. I tried to see if there was any CCTV cameras around, but didn't see any. Also no telltale signs warning of CCTV. I presumed the train driver took my reg number as he drove past me.

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I didn't know this. I tried to see if there was any CCTV cameras around, but didn't see any. Also no telltale signs warning of CCTV. I presumed the train driver took my reg number as he drove past me.

 

I doubt that very much. I think some kind of photographic evidence is required. Besides which, I can't see how it would be possible for the driver of a train travelling at the speed you state to take your reg number.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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the two red triangle warning signs are separate warnings

 

one that there is a risk of grounding

another that there is a closed gate/train crossing.

 

the over riding thing is that the white sign -

park here and use the phone.

 

theres no CCTv , but sensors on the gates - that active a previous red light to the train.

 

which raises the point

 

how did the train driver go thru the previous red light???

 

might not help your case

but thats prob why the driver clocked your reg.

 

dx

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I doubt that very much. I think some kind of photographic evidence is required.

There's no specific requirement for photographic evidence,,for this or any other offence. Eyewitness testimony would be adequate. People were convicted of crimes long before cameras were invented after all.

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the two red triangle warning signs are separate warnings

 

 

theres no CCTv , but sensors on the gates - that active a previous red light to the train.

 

which raises the point how did the train driver go thru the previous red light???

 

 

dx

 

It's highly unlikely that the gates on a UWC (user worked crossing) such as this are interlocked with the railway signalling and if the driver did go through a red signal the least of his worries would be checking reg numbers of cars!

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There's no specific requirement for photographic evidence,,for this or any other offence. Eyewitness testimony would be adequate. People were convicted of crimes long before cameras were invented after all.

 

You maybe right, but I don't buy the fact that the train drive recorded the OP's VRM while travelling at 30mph.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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The signage is ambiguous and does not give full notification that all vehicles have to phone the signal box. As taken from The Road Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 1 - 1.2. "Signs must give road users their message clearly and at the correct time. The message must be unambiguous and speedily understood"

Also in Chapter 3 - 1.1. (Introduction) "In particular,adjudicators might consider such failure to be evidence that the signing was unclear."

Another point to mention again from Road Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 3 - 1.15 "It is essential that drivers have an unobstructed view of traffic signs. The distance which should be kept clear of obstructions to the sight line, whether caused by vegetation, other signs or street furniture, is known as the clear visibility distance."

The Government list of signs only mentions large or slow moving vehicles to phone the signal box.

See here :: http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/@motor/documents/digitalasset/dg_191955.pdf

 

 

The only Regulations that mention "All Vehicle Must Phone" are the Office of Rail Regulations and so it can be easily argued that you have not broken any Road Users Regulations and as a road user cannot be expected to know or adhere to the Office of Rail Regulations.

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There's no specific requirement for photographic evidence,,for this or any other offence. Eyewitness testimony would be adequate. People were convicted of crimes long before cameras were invented after all.

 

Yes there is specific requirements for photographic evidence on some offences ! Eye witness testimony can sometimes be adequate but it is also easily questioned if it is one persons word against anothers. Yes, people were convicted of crimes long before cameras were invented but many other crimes were thrown out of court because of insufficient evidence.

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My betting is that is says so on the signs above the phone, you can see one across the other side as well. I can't see you have much hope here.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]49279[/ATTACH]

 

The other sign is not confusing, the wording makes it quite clear that if you are driving a low loaded lorry you could ground.

Edited by Conniff
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Yes there is specific requirements for photographic evidence on some offences ! Eye witness testimony can sometimes be adequate but it is also easily questioned if it is one persons word against anothers. Yes, people were convicted of crimes long before cameras were invented but many other crimes were thrown out of court because of insufficient evidence.

 

Which offences have specific requirements for photographic evidence?.

 

Speed cameras provide photographic evidence but even so a prosecution for speeding doesn't require photographic evidence : evidence from a police officer may suffice (for example)

 

I'm not aware of any offence that has a specific requirement for photographic evidence : just that the evidence (photos or otherwise) can be tested (if need be) in court, to the criminal standard of proof ("beyond all reasonable doubt")

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Which offences have specific requirements for photographic evidence?.

 

Speed cameras provide photographic evidence but even so a prosecution for speeding doesn't require photographic evidence : evidence from a police officer may suffice (for example)

 

I'm not aware of any offence that has a specific requirement for photographic evidence : just that the evidence (photos or otherwise) can be tested (if need be) in court, to the criminal standard of proof ("beyond all reasonable doubt")

 

That is exactly the point you can only be able to prosecute you if they are able to prove beyond reasonable doubt and with many motoring offences unless there is photographic evidence then there is reasonable doubt.

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