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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 10:24 GMT
Call to boost bridge safety
Crash site
Ten people died in the accident at Selby
Experts are calling for new safety measures at some road-over-rail bridges in the wake of the Selby rail disaster.

Among the recommendations are an assessment of the possible risks posed at hundreds of crossings in the UK.

There have been 27 instances of cars careering on to railway lines since the Selby crash in February 2001.

However local councils are concerned about were the money will come from to carry out any work needed to strengthen barriers and boost safety measures.

Gary Hart
Gary Hart was jailed for five years

Ten people were killed when a Land Rover came off the M62 and ended up on the East Coast Main Line in North Yorkshire.

Land Rover driver Gary Hart, 37, of Strubby, Lincolnshire, was jailed for five years last month after being convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

The two reports, released on Monday, are from the Health and Safety Commission and the Highways Agency.

The Health and Safety Commission was asked by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to set up a working party to identify incidents where road vehicles have obstructed railway lines.

Under the chairmanship of Richard Clifton, the Health and Safety Executive's railway policy head, the working party's report has made a number of recommendations on how to reduce such incidents.

Safety recommendations

Both road and rail experts as well as engineers have been involved in the working party which had its first meeting in May last year.

The second report from the Highways Agency was chaired by the agency's chief highways engineer, Ginny Clarke.

The agency is responsible for all English motorways and trunk roads.

The group has been looking at the provision of safety barriers on major roads and has made recommendations.

Both reports have already gone to government ministers.

In December 2001, a jury at Leeds Crown Court decided that Hart had fallen asleep at the wheel of his Land Rover before it plunged off the M62.

The vehicle continued along a steep road embankment on to the track and into the path of a GNER Newcastle to Leeds express train.

Hart telephoned police to warn them of the danger but was unable to prevent the express derailing and crashing into the path of a north-bound freight train.

Money worry

Officials said that barriers protecting the railway at Great Heck did meet approved safety standards.

However across the rest of North Yorkshire four wooden bridges are believed to have been identified as requiring additional safety work.

Mike Moore, from North Yorkshire County Council, said: "There are 163 road bridges over railways in the region and it would cost a lot of money to improve them.

"But at the same time we have to target some of the money into other areas."

See also:

29 Jan 02 | England
'Unsafe' railway bridges warning
13 Dec 01 | England
Call to boost barrier safety
13 Dec 01 | England
Tragic results of driver fatigue
24 Aug 01 | UK
When road meets rail
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