December 4 2013 Latest news:
By Matt Hunter
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
SUFFOLK County Council is investigating 20 rail sites across the county where vehicles are at risk of going onto the tracks, the East Anglian Daily Times can reveal.
The authority has undertaken risk assessments of all the sites and is now carrying out a detailed review of several of them.
Last month a rail investigation into an accident where a car managed to become lodged on the tracks after the driver lost control on a road between Old Newton and Stowmarket was published.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) criticised the council in its report for failing to address the risk of vehicles going onto the tracks.
The council has said the work is being given “serious consideration” and there was “no evidence” that the rail sites were unsafe.
“We have already identified all rail parallel incursion sites in Suffolk and have completed a risk assessment on all of them,” a council spokesman said.
“We are now undertaking a more detailed review of some of these sites, which should be completed by Christmas. Once completed, we will be working with Network Rail to consider what, if any, mitigation measures are necessary and consider how they will be funded.
“Suffolk’s roads are safe to use, but accidents do happen. This work is being given serious consideration, especially following the Old Newton incident.
“The locations are where the railway is in the vicinity of the road and the level of risk may vary considerably. There is no apparent history of incursions at these sites and what we are doing is very much taking a precautionary approach with Network Rail.”
The sites are in Bentley, Finningham, Wherstead, Mellis, Newmarket, Little Saxham, Woodbridge, Melton, Wenheaston, Beccles, Oulton Broad, Nacton, Levington, Trimley St Martin and Ipswich.
A spokesperson for the RAIB said: “Suffolk County Council has, as a result of the RAIB investigation, instigated a review of the sites.”
A spokeswoman for Network Rail said the firm was working to address the issues raised by the RAIB report and would give careful consideration to any of their recommendations.