Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Train Stupid - Please Phone First

British Transport Police have issued a report and photos of the crash caused when farmer John Henry Watkyn James could not be bothered to ring the signal box as required - using the phone supplied for the very purpose - nor to drive his tractor's trailer properly over the line.

Had he done so, the accident would not have happened. Rex Features have collated the photos.

Sergeant Steve Dawkins, officer in charge at BTP Swansea, said:

“The trailer was made of plate steel but due to the speed of the train and the force of impact, the trailer’s debris was spread over a large area.

“It is astounding that no one was seriously injured or killed in this incident. James’ actions not only put rail staff and passengers’ lives at risk but also caused extensive damage to the train, which could easily have resulted in derailment.

“Crossings are designed to keep people safe – and, when used correctly, that is exactly what they do.

Mr James pleaded guilty to a charge of endangering users of the railway but has been unwisely maundering on about 'bad luck', which suggests he was in the habit of doing this and regards it as jolly unfair that he has been held responsible this time.

Arriva Trains has given him an enormous bill for the damage to the train and the consequent loss. He thinks £167k is over-stating it. No, it's very modest and doesn't reflect all the consequent loss for people whose journeys were then disrupted. Whether his professional insurance - if he has any - will cover it is not stated.

He has no idea of how lucky he has been that the damage has been purely economic, that he isn't in prison, and that the court saw fit to give him only a suspended sentence and 200 hours worth of voluntary work.

The court appeared to accept his cock-and-bull story about the second gate swinging shut, trapping the trailer on the line, which sounds plausible until you see the video. Rather more likely is that he opened the first gate, drove over, knowingly parking the trailer on the line, then got out to open the second gate. This version of events is given in some accounts.

The words "delivering hay" do not properly convey the solidity of three circular bales of the stuff at that speed of impact.

H/T Ambush Predator


Maverick said...

If he did it on a regular basis .. he would be aware of the gate and any habit of swinging back and would have taken steps to ensure it doesn't move .. we used concrete building blocks ,,,

JuliaM said...

Cheers for link.

I was most irked by his utter lack of anything other than self-pity.

Train party favors said...

This is so hilarious!

Captain Haddock said...

I noticed that in referring to this idiot from KIDWELLY, Wales .. the press were very careful to avoid any mention of Sheep or Goats .. ;)

Bales of hay/straw are solid, that's precisely why they're placed around the perimeter of Go-Kart tracks etc, to actually STOP a vehicle ..

I'm sure there's a village somewhere, which is sadly missing this berk ..

Woman on a Raft said...

Aye, Captain. Somebody over at Ambush Predator (sorry, it might have been you) pointed out that there is a problem establishing mentation of any sort with some people.

I fear that Maverick (above) is being very optimistic; it takes foresight and planning to nip over the line, wedge open the gates and make sure that you can clear the tracks without hindrance. Even if you only did this drive once, wouldn't you think "Hmm, I'd like to stay alive, I think I'll phone up to make sure I've got time to get over".

No, this one is right up there with up the quad-bike thieves who thought they were being clever by using the railway lines as gettaway routes.

They forgot that just because the scheduled passenger services are not running, there might still be freight trains or, as turned out here, a train going in for a service.


Captain Haddock said...

@ WOAR ..

Darwin is alive & well and strikes yet again .. ;)

Electro-Kevin said...

That would have been a diesel unit I'm bloody surprised the driver wasn't hurt.

A friend of mine drove a Eurostar through an artic lorry on a crossing in Belgium. It stripped away the nose cone and body panels. The Train Manageress said she got to the front expecting to see bodies but there was my mate sat rigid in his seat exposed to the open air.

Anonymous said...

I feel for the poor driver, he probably thought this was the end. These things all too often end badly for the poor driver. But gross stupidity in the farmer's part.

Woman on a Raft said...

Indeed. Some reports say that the driver was badly affected psychologically and was not over it a year afterwards. He was incredibly lucky to not be physically injured.