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Apology issued to family of Long Rock level crossing victim

By CGMikeS  |  Posted: March 07, 2014

  • Flowers left at the Long Rock level crossing after the death of Jan Nicholls

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THE HEAD of Network Rail has issued a full and unreserved apology to families bereaved by incidents at level crossing, including one in which a Long Rock pensioner died.

The admission came following a scathing attack by MPs on the company which controls Britain’s rail network.

House of Commons Transport Committee chairman Louise Ellman said Network Rail had shown “a callous disregard” for families suffering from level crossing accidents

The report produced by MPs detailed a number of incidents where people had died on level crossings, including that of Jan Nicholls, who was fatally struck by a train as she used the Mexico crossing at Long Rock, near Penzance, in October 2011.

The crossing was used solely to access the beach and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said Mrs Nicholls may not have heard the train horn because of the prevailing wind direction. There were no other warning systems.

The RAIB recommended safety improvements for the crossing, although the issue has become controversial after the coroner at the inquest into Mrs Nicholls’ death recommended it be closed.

It was subsequently shut in June last year, and in November Cornwall Council extended the closure and applied to the Secretary of State to have the right of way extinguished.

The group Friends of Long Rock Mexico Crossing is continuing to campaign to have the crossing reinstated as they say it provides a vital community facility.

NR chief executive Mark Carne said that the company had undergone major changes.

“I wish to extend a full and unreserved apology on behalf of Network Rail to all those whose life has been touched by a failing, however large or small, made by this company in managing public safety at level crossings and in failing to deal sensitively with the families affected.”

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  • beverly  |  March 13 2014, 8:40PM

    I am fed-up with Network Rail! The RAIB report was inclusive as to why Mrs Nicholls was on the track and killed. It was not a safety issue, she was a regular user of the crossing and wholly responsible for her actions that day. It was not very bad weather that day, I was on the beach with my dogs. If circumstance were different and Mrs Nicholls was here now, I would imagine that she would be fighting for the crossing to be open, as she used it regularly!

    |   12
  • robzrob  |  March 13 2014, 8:33PM

    When's Network Rail going to apologise to ME AND MY NEIGHBOURS for attempting to take away my rights? A Long Rocker

    |   11
  • josdave  |  March 08 2014, 7:39AM

    All the roads in the country would be closed if you used that argument. There is nothing wrong with that crossing and the closure was a stupid knee jerk reaction.

    |   16
  • Gwiwer57  |  March 08 2014, 2:22AM

    One fatality is one too many however is that sufficient justification to cur off a community from the beach they have enjoyed for many generations? At last some respect has been shown by Network Rail. It would be another mark of their changed attitudes to re-open the crossing instead of continuing to rub salt into local wounds by trying to close it permanently.

    |   18
  • madfish  |  March 08 2014, 1:03AM

    Mrs Nicholls may, or may not have heard the train horn, but was apparently looking directly at the approaching silent locomotive when she decided to dash in front of it. ???

    |   14