Inquest into the death of Colin Cameron
Saunders Law represents the family of Colin Cameron in an inquest into his death. Mr Cameron was killed when a train collided with his vehicle on Frampton Mansell 'User worked crossing' in Gloucestershire on 7th February 2017. Mr Cameron was a frequent user of the level crossing and said to be very cautious when travelling over it. A user worked level crossing requires all who wish to cross to contact the signaller by trackside telephone and obtain permission. Mr Cameron was the sole authorised user of the level crossing, only making use of it when travelling to his camp site. It was reported that Mr Cameron had contacted the signaller requesting permission and was given approval to proceed moments before his death. The conversation with the signaller was automatically recorded, and will be carefully examined at the inquest.
A pre inquest hearing (PIH) was held at Gloucester Coroners Court on 11th January 2018 to explore the issues in the case prior to the inquest, ensuring effective management of the case. At the PIH it was revealed by Counsel for the family of Colin Cameron that, at the time of the incident, two different warning light systems were installed in the Gloucestershire signal box. These lights include a red light system which indicates the general stretch of the track the train is on, and a white light system which informs the signaller which side of the crossing a train is located on. The white light system was reportedly not in operation at the time of the fatality. The system was repaired immediately after the incident.
Near misses by trains seem not to be as uncommon as one would hope. On 21st August 2015, Mr Cameron was on his way back from the campsite and contacted the Gloucester signaller to request permission to cross over the level crossing. He asked for a minute with the Land Rover and was given the go ahead to cross. Uncomfortable soon after he crossed, a train travelling at high speed passed Mr Cameron, of which complaint was made.
A similar incident took place on 10th April 2016 when a tractor driver was seriously injured in a train collision on Hockham Road level crossing in Thetford Norfolk. The train was travelling at 84mph at a level crossing when it collided into the tractor. The driver of the tractor had called the signaller requesting permission to cross to which the signaller gave before the train had passed the crossing. The train was 64 seconds away when the tractor driver was given permission to cross by the signaller. It was reported that a system using red and green lights which alerts drivers when it is safe to cross had been switched off while improvements were made. The only option was for drivers to contact the signaller to ask for permission.
A vehicle passenger waiting to pass Dock Lane (geography?)level crossing was also subject to a near miss incident on 14 June 2016. The signaller had given permission for the car to cross when asked for permission, although he was aware of the location of the train. As the driver opened the gates to the level crossing a train sped over the crossing.
The Cameron inquest will be asked to make a formal report to Network Rail under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to prevent future deaths.
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