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Old lights cause child’s death at level crossing

Posted in: Car Accidents Road Traffic Accidents Wrongful & Accidental Death 

In December of last year, a four-year-old girl was tragically killed after her grandmother failed to see the dim warning lights at a level crossing. The car, in which Emma Lifsey was a passenger, collided with the train at Beech Hill Crossing in Nottinghamshire on the 4th of December. Emma’s 67-year-old grandmother survived the incident, but Emma sadly died the following day in hospital.

The car pulled out onto the level crossing despite the fact that the red warning lights – known as ‘wigwags’ – were on at the time. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch said that the lights were extremely old and barely visible against the bright sun on a wet road. Network Rail told media that the lights have been replaced since the accident.

“Well below the specification for lights of this type”

The train had been travelling at 60mph at the time of the collision, and Miss Lifsey’s grandmother told media that she only saw the lights and barriers when she was up very close to the crossing.  The warning lights have since been tested by The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) at an ‘optical laboratory’.  They were found to be “well below the specification for lights of this type”.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Our thoughts remain with the family of Emma Lifsey, following this tragedy.” The lights have since been replaced with LED lights, which are much more visible in poor lighting conditions.

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