TMS has completed an interesting piece of work in North Yorkshire where we were asked to assess the risk to pedestrians crossing the East Coast Main Line on a public footpath at an uncontrolled rail crossing.
The assessment came about following the development of as new residential estate comprising 240 houses in which one of the conditions for the development required a pedestrian and cycle access from the housing area to the nearby town centre. This sustainable travel route will improve part of the footpath to the east of the rail crossing, with the consequence that some pedestrians may wish to travel in the other direction on the existing footpath and cross the railway, on their route to a leisure walk in open countryside.
150 high speed trains travel through the crossing daily but the current pedestrian usage is low with less than six crossings on average each day.
Our assessment stated that the number of pedestrian trips would be likely to increase substantially following the opening of the new homes. These trips would include children and teenagers, keen to explore their new surroundings. There is also likely to be an increase in train traffic on the East Coast mainline and there is a risk of trespass and suicide in the area. Any pedestrian struck by a train is likely to be killed. TMS concluded that any short term improvements to the crossing could leave a residual risk to pedestrian users of the footpath that would be unacceptable. We recommended undertaking a feasibility study for diverting the footpath, and this is currently being investigated via an existing subway south of the current crossing location.