Inquiry into pensioner’s level crossing death reopened due to ‘new evidence’

The 85-year-old victim was walking on a level crossing with a dog and pushing a wheeled trolley bag.

An investigation into the death of an elderly woman who was struck by a train on a level crossing has been reopened.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said “new evidence has been made available” since it published its report into the incident, which happened near Ashtead in Surrey on April 21 last year.

The 85-year-old victim, who was not named in the report, was walking on the Lady Howard footpath and bridleway crossing with a dog and pushing a wheeled trolley bag.

She started to cross the tracks after a train had passed, but was hit by a second train travelling in the opposite direction.

An RAIB report published in February said the pensioner was “apparently unaware that the second train was approaching” because it was “hidden behind the first train”.

It went on: “A probable underlying factor was that Network Rail had not provided any effective additional risk mitigation at the crossing, despite having previously deemed the risk to users to be unacceptable.”

The RAIB recommended Network Rail addresses the risk to pedestrians at crossings of this type when a second train can be hidden, and implements “appropriate interim risk mitigations” at crossings awaiting “long-term solutions” to safety issues.

Network Rail said at the time that it had added more signage at the crossing and will install warning lights next year.

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