Risking lives with deadly railway dash

CROSSING NIGHTMARE -- the Bonemill level crossing where Jean Hoggart and her grandson, Mikey Dawson, were killed in 2008
CROSSING NIGHTMARE -- the Bonemill level crossing where Jean Hoggart and her grandson, Mikey Dawson, were killed in 2008

BULWELL Forest railway level crossing is a notorious ‘hotspot’ for people risking their lives by jumping over the barrier.

One pedestrian who diced with death in this way was seen by Pc Andrew Hamilton to dash across Hucknall, Bulwell and Newstead’s Robin Hood line. He was caught by the officer, who gave him an on-the-spot £50 fine.

Network Rail has entered discussions with Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Express Transit, which runs Hucknall and Bulwell’s tram network, to look at ways of making the crossing safer. One suggestion is to provide a footbridge.

The Dispatch district experienced a double railway-death tragedy when Jean Hoggart (65) and her seven-year-old grandson, Mikey Dawson, both of Hucknall, died when they were hit by a train at the pedestrian-only Bonemill crossing, between Moor Road, Bestwood Village, and Nottingham Road, Hucknall, in November 2008.

Pc Hamilton claimed that ‘most times’ when officers visited the Bulwell Forest crossing, they saw people jumping over the barrier.

He warned that people doing this could get caught in the rails or simply fall over. An approaching train would not be able to slow down in time to avoid striking them.

“This has become a regular occurrence,” he added. “People are just putting themselves in a position of danger.”

Insp Mark Clements, of the British Transport Police, said the number of cases in Nottinghamshire where people had trespassed on rail tracks between April 2011 and March 2012 was now a worrying 51. This compared with 46 the year before.

This was even though the number of vehicle offences at crossings was down, Seventy-three were recorded, compared to 96 for the previous 12 months.

He claimed: “Impatience is often the reason. People are not prepared to make allowance for an extra 60 seconds on their journey to be safe. They would prefer to take the risk — but it is a very big risk.”

Insp Clements said the David Lane crossing at Basford, on the edge of the Dispatch district, was frequently misused.

He claimed that some drivers risked getting stuck on the crossing because they entered it when traffic on the opposite side had not cleared.