walkhighlands

This forum is for general discussion about walking and scrambling... If writing a report or sharing your experiences from a route, please use the other boards.

Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Paul Webster » Tue Aug 10, 2021 11:01 am

Just for info here, OS map from 1882. The level crossing is on the line of the old Thieves' Road (marked in blue). The track through the underpass - to the south - didn't even have any connection with that route before the Loch Ericht dam was built, so it could not have been the original line of the path. Unfortunately I understand its status could only be definitively established in court.

theivesroad.jpg


A reminder about safety - this crossing has NOT been closed. Network Rail are just saying that it is not (and never has been, in spite of being signposted as such by CNPA) available for walkers / cyclists to use, which is why they haven't carried out any consultation with the community, landowners, or local authorities. If level crossings are safe enough to be the access for all the estate traffic, pedestrians, vehicles and animals, then it doesn't seem reasonable to say they are too unsafe for other groups. Our access rights are generally based around the principle that everyone should enjoy the same rights of responsible non-motorised access as owners of the land, except for curtledge around houses; not being able to use official level crossings is/would be an anomaly.
User avatar
Paul Webster
Site Admin
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 5423
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:68   Donalds:45
Sub 2000:117   Hewitts:133
Wainwrights:134   Islands:92
Joined: Jan 6, 2007
Location: Highland
Walk wish-list

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Robert Haynes » Tue Aug 10, 2021 12:33 pm

Paul Webster wrote:A reminder about safety - this crossing has NOT been closed.

Network Rail appear to hold that it hasn't been closed to the public, because it was never open to the public. I think all of us here (yes, even me) disagree vehemently on that point, but that's what they believe.

I do think they have a strong safety argument that it should be closed to the public, whatever its current legal status. If that's the course of action they want to pursue, it needs to go through the proper channels. Presumably that would be to apply for a Diversion Order.
Robert Haynes
Walker
 
Posts: 30
Munros:6   Corbetts:2
Joined: Jul 26, 2021

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Aug 10, 2021 12:34 pm

Robert Haynes wrote:
In the case of Dalwhinnie, there is a viable alternative, and it's reasonable for them to expect people to use it. It's also reasonable for them to close the crossing to the public - but, if there is a right of way, they need to do so via the proper procedure. In some cases, like Balsporran, where there's no viable alternative, the railway may be forced to keep this kind of crossing open. Network Rail is undertaking work (called Project Meerkat) to develop a low-cost way of indicating whether it is safe to cross. But removing the option for the public to walk across a live railway line is always going to be the safest course of action.

No it is not reasonable for them to close the crossing and the crossing isn't closed. The route was there before the railway and if Network Rail all of a sudden think it is unsafe they should be providing a safe alternative in the same place.

What they have done is made the crossing less safe as folk now have the added obstacle of a locked gate. Any incident now will probably be seen as of Network Rails creation. They are wrong if they think they have now washed their hands of this crossing by trying to bar a right of way.
No one has come out and said using this crossing is illegal. Not the landowner, not the BTP and I'm not sure if Network Rail have actually said that. If they have it would be interesting to hear their explanation as to why people have been allowed to use it for decades.

Ps NR should also be engaging with local communities who the are supposed to be serving instead of ignoring them and antagonising them.
User avatar
Sunset tripper
 
Posts: 2486
Joined: Nov 3, 2013
Location: Inverness

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby NickyRannoch » Tue Aug 10, 2021 12:56 pm

Over the past 10 years there have been an average of 6 deaths per year across the entire British rail network on crossings.

They are demonstrably not extremely dangerous.

Its no different to Traffic Scotland banning crossing A Roads except given the safety argument Traffic Scotland would have far more of a case
User avatar
NickyRannoch
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1555
Munros:192   Corbetts:3
Grahams:4   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:8   
Islands:16
Joined: Aug 21, 2009
Location: Carse of Gowrie, Perthshire

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Robert Haynes » Tue Aug 10, 2021 2:18 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:No one has come out and said using this crossing is illegal. Not the landowner, not the BTP and I'm not sure if Network Rail have actually said that. If they have it would be interesting to hear their explanation as to why people have been allowed to use it for decades.

What they have said is that it's a private level crossing for authorised users only. Which, if they are correct, means that they don't need to close it to the public, because it was never open to us, and anyone using it without authorisation was trespass on the railway. Initially, the offence would likely be against Section 23 of the Regulation of the Railways Act 1868, and attract a fine of up to £200. There should be a notice at the crossing (and certainly will be at the station) to this effect.

They may very well be wrong on that front. The fact that there's an ancient right of way supports that view. So does the fact that the British Transport Police do not consider public use of foot crossings to be trespass. And the fact that the crossing has been used for a very long time (certainly well over 20 years) by right by the public may well make it a right of way in itself.

I do not think they were right to lock the crossing gate, particularly without consultation. But I understand why they have done it, and why they believe they have the authority to do it.
Robert Haynes
Walker
 
Posts: 30
Munros:6   Corbetts:2
Joined: Jul 26, 2021

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Clach Liath » Tue Aug 10, 2021 3:38 pm

Paul Webster wrote:Just for info here, OS map from 1882. The level crossing is on the line of the old Thieves' Road (marked in blue). The track through the underpass - to the south - didn't even have any connection with that route before the Loch Ericht dam was built, so it could not have been the original line of the path. Unfortunately I understand its status could only be definitively established in court.

theivesroad.jpg



As I suggested in a previous post, I think that a pretty good idea of the status of the Thieves' Road could be had by a review of the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway 1861 and the plans deposited with it.

I also think that you have been somewhat fobbed off by CNPA. Their boundary lies just to the west of the railway. There is no "gap". So the CPNA ought to have investigated the status of this route when they prepared their Core Footpath Map including over the railway. There was no reason why they could not have extended the marking on the Map over the railway itself, unless they determined that there was no historic right of way and no prescriptive right had arisen. A FOI/EIR request to CPNA might be in order to ascertain what they did at the time the Map was prepared and what (if any) communications CPNA had with NR.

Notwithstanding your OS map, it is possible that the 1861 legislation diverted the old right of way to the underpass to the south. But we will not know unless that legislation is looked at. Clearly the Estate thinks that it has a private right of way at this crossing, and I am assuming that Network Rail regard them as authorised users. NR will have the records. They should be volunteering them for inspection so that some clarity can be brought to the situation.

Only then do we know the context in which "rights" and safety be properly assessed.
User avatar
Clach Liath
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 554
Munros:44   Corbetts:76
Grahams:29   Donalds:35
Sub 2000:95   Hewitts:202
Wainwrights:162   
Joined: Sep 2, 2011
Location: Yorkshire
Walk wish-list

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Sunset tripper » Fri Aug 13, 2021 1:29 pm

User avatar
Sunset tripper
 
Posts: 2486
Joined: Nov 3, 2013
Location: Inverness

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby brpro26 » Fri Aug 13, 2021 1:58 pm

There's a crossing not far from me in Ladybank, Fife. It has a Go/No Go Green/Red light system for pedestrians and vehicular access across it. Not unlike the Dalwhinnie crossing it's frequently used, possibly more so in fact. Not to mention the one further up the track for the golf club access. There's no difference in these types of crossing so why can't a similar
traffic light system not be adopted to warn of oncoming trains at Dalwhinnie.
User avatar
brpro26
 
Posts: 447
Munros:220   Corbetts:7
Grahams:4   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:9   
Joined: Jun 13, 2009
Location: Glenrothes

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Robert Haynes » Fri Aug 13, 2021 4:54 pm

brpro26 wrote:why can't a similar traffic light system not be adopted to warn of oncoming trains at Dalwhinnie.

Clearly it can be done, but it's apparently more expensive than you might think. Obviously if Network Rail think there's a way to achieve their goal without spending lots of money, then that's going to be their preferred option unless someone forces them to do something else.
Robert Haynes
Walker
 
Posts: 30
Munros:6   Corbetts:2
Joined: Jul 26, 2021

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby al78 » Fri Aug 13, 2021 8:19 pm

NickyRannoch wrote:Over the past 10 years there have been an average of 6 deaths per year across the entire British rail network on crossings.

They are demonstrably not extremely dangerous.

Its no different to Traffic Scotland banning crossing A Roads except given the safety argument Traffic Scotland would have far more of a case


Yes it is. A roads, unless they are classified as special roads, are public rights of way so pedestrians have an absolute right to use them. A rail line is not a public right of way, which is why the law of trespass comes in when someone walks on the tracks.
User avatar
al78
Walker
 
Posts: 977
Munros:28   Corbetts:8
Donalds:1
Joined: Feb 1, 2018

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby al78 » Fri Aug 13, 2021 8:22 pm

The simplest solution would appear to be to use the footbridge linking the two station platforms to link up the right of way either side of the rail line. Is there any logistical reason that couldn't be done?
User avatar
al78
Walker
 
Posts: 977
Munros:28   Corbetts:8
Donalds:1
Joined: Feb 1, 2018

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Clach Liath » Fri Aug 13, 2021 10:08 pm

al78 wrote:
NickyRannoch wrote:Over the past 10 years there have been an average of 6 deaths per year across the entire British rail network on crossings.

They are demonstrably not extremely dangerous.

Its no different to Traffic Scotland banning crossing A Roads except given the safety argument Traffic Scotland would have far more of a case


Yes it is. A roads, unless they are classified as special roads, are public rights of way so pedestrians have an absolute right to use them. A rail line is not a public right of way, which is why the law of trespass comes in when someone walks on the tracks.


Actually a crossing over a railway line can be a public right of way. I do not know if it is in this case, though the existence of the Thieves' Road indicates that it might well be.
User avatar
Clach Liath
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 554
Munros:44   Corbetts:76
Grahams:29   Donalds:35
Sub 2000:95   Hewitts:202
Wainwrights:162   
Joined: Sep 2, 2011
Location: Yorkshire
Walk wish-list

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby rockhopper » Fri Aug 13, 2021 10:15 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:There is a petition if anyone's interested.
https://e-activist.com/page/88022/petition/1?locale=en-GB&en_chan=wa&en_ref=224632842

:thumbup: signed it yesterday
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6814
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:72   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby jupe1407 » Sat Aug 14, 2021 12:22 am

Robert Haynes wrote:
NickyRannoch wrote:
Robert Haynes wrote: Such crossings are, after all, extremely dangerous.


No they're not

The railway industry would beg to differ.


As far as i am aware, no one has been killed at the Dalwhinnie Crossing for many, many years. If we guesstimate that an average of say 5 people a day use the crossing (and I'd further argue that's a pretty low estimate) and multiply that by say thirty years (I can find no record of any pedestrian fatality there mind you), that's at least 54,750 crossings with no accidents over three decades, probably a lot longer. Statistically an individual is more likely to be wiped out by another car on the A9 driving there, than they are by a train.

NR are absolutely at it here.
User avatar
jupe1407
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1406
Munros:245   Corbetts:32
Grahams:11   
Sub 2000:5   
Islands:2
Joined: May 15, 2012
Location: Forfar

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Moriarty » Sat Aug 14, 2021 7:18 am

jupe1407 wrote:As far as i am aware, no one has been killed at the Dalwhinnie Crossing for many, many years. If we guesstimate that an average of say 5 people a day use the crossing (and I'd further argue that's a pretty low estimate) and multiply that by say thirty years (I can find no record of any pedestrian fatality there mind you), that's at least 54,750 crossings with no accidents over three decades, probably a lot longer. Statistically an individual is more likely to be wiped out by another car on the A9 driving there, than they are by a train.

NR are absolutely at it here.


Maybe, but worth taking into account that most Health and Safety systems only care about the potential for negative events under their remit, and care nothing for the wider impacts.

Health and Safety type departments would happily break the World to keep their sheet clear of events - they need higher management/political action to take decisions out of their grasp in order to make more holistic choices.
Moriarty
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Dec 15, 2013

PreviousNext



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free


Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?



Return to General discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bimbling and 7 guests