The Rail Accident Investigation Branch said that seven out of the 22 recommendations had not been implemented following the incident at Grayrigg, Cumbria, in February 2007, which claimed the life of Glasgow woman Margaret Masson, 84, and left eight others in hospital, including the victim’s daughter and son-in-law.
The disclosure came as investigations continued in to the fatal accident in the Highlands on Tuesday in which three elderly people were killed when a train hit their car on an unmanned level crossing.
The victims are thought to be an elderly couple and a relative from a nearby care home.
Loading article content
Network Rail said that there was no indication that the crossing in Halkirk, Caithness, was not functioning properly at the time of the accident.
The unmanned crossing is governed by a warning lighting system, which changes from flashing orange to flashing red roughly 30 seconds before a train is due to pass. One resident who lives close to the level crossing said, that on Tuesday afternoon, he heard the loud klaxon sound which indicates an oncoming train -- and then the loud bang of the crash.
The crossing was also the scene of a serious accident in 2002, which left a pregnant woman in a coma. She is currently suing Network Rail for £500,000, with her solicitor claiming that the crash may not have happened if a barrier was in place.
Since the accident, a row has broken out about the safety of unmanned crossings. Two of the three roads out of Halkirk are covered by unmanned level crossings.
Highlands and Islands SNP MSPs Rob Gibson and Dave Thompson, who have campaigned for barriers at level crossings, said in a statement: “The rail safety inspectorate needs to work as speedily as possible to allay fears about these rail crossings in the network, and the Office of Rail Regulation must move forward quickly with its investigation of safety at rail crossings across the country.”
Councillor David Flear, who lives in Halkirk, said: “I would like Network Rail to review the whole concept of unmanned crossings. I would like to see a double set of lights at all crossings, perhaps 50 yards apart, so that two warnings are given to the level crossing.”
The report into the Grayrigg crash, caused when a Virgin Pendolino train derailed while travelling over a set of points, said that a review of its investigations had found that a number of similar issues were occurring repeatedly, raising questions over whether its recommendations were being followed up effectively.
Carolyn Griffiths, chief inspector of rail accidents, said in her introduction to the report: “The Office of Rail Regulation is still in the process of satisfying itself whether the RAIB’s recommendations have been properly acted upon.”
The RAIB said it was “particularly concerned” about the safety of Network Rail staff working on points while trains are running.