Tributes to Tom Pizzey, the victim of Yarnton rail crossing crash tragedy

Banbury Cake: Tom Pizzey Tom Pizzey

PASSERS-BY tried desperately to save an 85-year-old man who died after the car he was in was hit by a freight train on a level crossing.

Last night the death of Tom Pizzey was said to have robbed Oxfordshire of a kind, gentle and generous man.

Those are the words of his family after the pensioner was killed at the Sandy Lane level crossing near Yarnton.

British Transport Police last night thanked members of the public who tried in vain to save Mr Pizzey on Wednesday.

The 78-year-old driver of the car was left with relatively minor injuries after the crash and was last night still in hospital.

Mr Pizzey’s niece Linda Mogford said:“My Uncle Tom was a kind, generous and gentle man and this incident has come as a great shock to all the family.

“We would like to thank everyone for their kind messages of support at this very difficult and sad time and extend our sympathies to those who knew Tom in Banbury.

“He will be greatly missed by his family and those who loved him.”

The incident happened on the Sandy Lane line between Yarnton and Kidlington just before 3.40pm on Wednesday when a Freightliner train carrying shipping containers hit the blue Renault Kangoo.

Investigators were yesterday examining the wreckage of the car and the mechanics of the half barrier crossing but admitted they did not yet know what caused the crash.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Taylor said: “Detectives will be working tirelessly to establish the full circumstances into exactly what took place, including how the car came to be on the tracks.”

Network Rail insisted the crossing barrier was safe prior to the crash despite claims from residents that the barrier was frequently stuck down.

It also emerged that Kidlington police had assisted at the crossing several times in the last few months.

Yarnton resident Wayne Tilling, said problems at the crossing had begun in November.

Mr Tilling, 42, said: “There is definitely a safety issue there with the barriers staying down. “I’ve been using that crossing for years and the barriers are definitely down longer than they used to be.

“I live near there and have seen drivers flagging others down to tell them that the crossing was stuck, and police have been out.

“I have contacted the signalman myself four or five times having gone down there and found the barriers stuck.”

He added he had seen drivers try to manoeuvre around the barriers, which he said was because they were down too long.

But Network Rail spokeswoman Sam Kelly said the crossing was working correctly.

She added: “Currently, we have no plans to install full barriers at this crossing and reviewing safety at level crossings is an ongoing process.

“There have been three recorded incidents of misuse at the crossing and two near misses since April 2009.

“In comparison to other crossings this is very low.”

But the organisation refused to give the Oxford Mail comparative figures for other level crossings in the area.

Thames Valley Police spokesman Rhianne Pope said the Kidlington Neighbourhood Team had attended the crossing to assist “a handful” of times recently to help out but no further details were available.

A purpose-built speed camera van designed to catch drivers attempting to beat the warning barriers was due to be used at the crossing, but British Transport Police yesterday said it had not yet visited the site.

 

How the crossing works...

  • A LEVEL crossing barrier works when a train triggers a ‘treadle’ switch on its way to the crossing.

  • The switches are used to operate crossings, such as those at Sandy Lane near Yarnton, and give accurate detection of an oncoming train.

  • It is important the device is in full working order as, dependent on the speed of the train, sometimes there can be only 30 seconds between the train tagging it and then passing the crossing.

  • When the wheels of the train go over the treadle, it activates the level crossing and the barriers start to deploy. The treadle switch provides detection at a given point in the passage of a train, with passenger trains usually much faster than freight trains on approach. The waiting time for vehicles can therefore vary from about 30 seconds to upwards of three minutes dependent on how fast the train is going.

  • When it passes and hits the treadle on the other side of the track moving away, the barrier raises to let traffic through.

Comments (9)

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11:32am Fri 4 Jan 13

Pinky62 says...

May our sympathies go out to Tom Pizzey's families at this sad time. On behalf of all Begbroke Residents
May our sympathies go out to Tom Pizzey's families at this sad time. On behalf of all Begbroke Residents Pinky62

12:37pm Fri 4 Jan 13

King Joke says...

In all likelihood the barriers weren't 'stuck', they were probably remaining down for another train. This section of line is incredibly busy, much busier than it used to be. It runs at 90%+ capacity so there aren't many gaps between trains.

On top of this, freight trains are sometimes 'looped' at Jericho to let passenger trains past, which means they are approaching the crossings more slowly and will take longer to arrive at the crossings having activated the treadle.

Passenger trains are supposed to run every half an hour but are often delayed in Birmingham and run behind each other or behind freight trains.

The Highway Code rule is clear: if the barriers are down, don't drive around them! If you don't like it, use Langford Lane or Frieze Way. If the crossing is regularly abused it will simply get closed permanently on safety grounds.
In all likelihood the barriers weren't 'stuck', they were probably remaining down for another train. This section of line is incredibly busy, much busier than it used to be. It runs at 90%+ capacity so there aren't many gaps between trains. On top of this, freight trains are sometimes 'looped' at Jericho to let passenger trains past, which means they are approaching the crossings more slowly and will take longer to arrive at the crossings having activated the treadle. Passenger trains are supposed to run every half an hour but are often delayed in Birmingham and run behind each other or behind freight trains. The Highway Code rule is clear: if the barriers are down, don't drive around them! If you don't like it, use Langford Lane or Frieze Way. If the crossing is regularly abused it will simply get closed permanently on safety grounds. King Joke

12:38pm Fri 4 Jan 13

King Joke says...

PS there is no evidence Mr Pizzey jumped the barriers, and it's incrediby sad what happened. We'll have to await the outcome of the enquiry.
PS there is no evidence Mr Pizzey jumped the barriers, and it's incrediby sad what happened. We'll have to await the outcome of the enquiry. King Joke

1:31pm Fri 4 Jan 13

WayneT says...

When the signalman on the phone says that they are down due to a fault - I guess that is correct. The barriers were staying down until Railtrack staff came out to fix them. I have seen then stay down for over 30 minutes at a time - and they were down when I arrived. I even seen the police there turning people around at the crossing.

I've not seen the problem recently so I guess they had fixed it. A camera had been present there too for a short time before Christmas.

In any case, if any fault is detected at a crossing of this type then the safest thing is for the barriers to go down and stay down. When I see this the electronic warnings are all active too.

You can not get trapped, unless the driver or vehicle has a problem, as the barriers only go half-way across the road.

The other options are for trains to pass through with no barriers operating - or close down the rail route.

The problem is that people then start to drive around the barriers when they stay down too long - which I have witnessed.

I am sure that this incident is not a case of mis-use - but an accident which will be explained in due course. They were quite a few witnesses there.

Talking away from this incident - having a fault where the half-barriers stick down does not cause crashes if a train is coming. That is dependent of vehicles crossing while the barriers are down - or stopping on the track to look both ways and then stalling and not being able to restart.

As long a cars can drive over rail tracks - there will always be crashes.
When the signalman on the phone says that they are down due to a fault - I guess that is correct. The barriers were staying down until Railtrack staff came out to fix them. I have seen then stay down for over 30 minutes at a time - and they were down when I arrived. I even seen the police there turning people around at the crossing. I've not seen the problem recently so I guess they had fixed it. A camera had been present there too for a short time before Christmas. In any case, if any fault is detected at a crossing of this type then the safest thing is for the barriers to go down and stay down. When I see this the electronic warnings are all active too. You can not get trapped, unless the driver or vehicle has a problem, as the barriers only go half-way across the road. The other options are for trains to pass through with no barriers operating - or close down the rail route. The problem is that people then start to drive around the barriers when they stay down too long - which I have witnessed. I am sure that this incident is not a case of mis-use - but an accident which will be explained in due course. They were quite a few witnesses there. Talking away from this incident - having a fault where the half-barriers stick down does not cause crashes if a train is coming. That is dependent of vehicles crossing while the barriers are down - or stopping on the track to look both ways and then stalling and not being able to restart. As long a cars can drive over rail tracks - there will always be crashes. WayneT

4:08pm Fri 4 Jan 13

MadMan-JaYmZ says...

WayneT wrote:
When the signalman on the phone says that they are down due to a fault - I guess that is correct. The barriers were staying down until Railtrack staff came out to fix them. I have seen then stay down for over 30 minutes at a time - and they were down when I arrived. I even seen the police there turning people around at the crossing.

I've not seen the problem recently so I guess they had fixed it. A camera had been present there too for a short time before Christmas.

In any case, if any fault is detected at a crossing of this type then the safest thing is for the barriers to go down and stay down. When I see this the electronic warnings are all active too.

You can not get trapped, unless the driver or vehicle has a problem, as the barriers only go half-way across the road.

The other options are for trains to pass through with no barriers operating - or close down the rail route.

The problem is that people then start to drive around the barriers when they stay down too long - which I have witnessed.

I am sure that this incident is not a case of mis-use - but an accident which will be explained in due course. They were quite a few witnesses there.

Talking away from this incident - having a fault where the half-barriers stick down does not cause crashes if a train is coming. That is dependent of vehicles crossing while the barriers are down - or stopping on the track to look both ways and then stalling and not being able to restart.

As long a cars can drive over rail tracks - there will always be crashes.
it doesn't help that at this particular crossing there is a sharp bend if you approach from yarnton.

If the barriers don't come down people will be killed, i think its best they install full barriers at all crossings !
[quote][p][bold]WayneT[/bold] wrote: When the signalman on the phone says that they are down due to a fault - I guess that is correct. The barriers were staying down until Railtrack staff came out to fix them. I have seen then stay down for over 30 minutes at a time - and they were down when I arrived. I even seen the police there turning people around at the crossing. I've not seen the problem recently so I guess they had fixed it. A camera had been present there too for a short time before Christmas. In any case, if any fault is detected at a crossing of this type then the safest thing is for the barriers to go down and stay down. When I see this the electronic warnings are all active too. You can not get trapped, unless the driver or vehicle has a problem, as the barriers only go half-way across the road. The other options are for trains to pass through with no barriers operating - or close down the rail route. The problem is that people then start to drive around the barriers when they stay down too long - which I have witnessed. I am sure that this incident is not a case of mis-use - but an accident which will be explained in due course. They were quite a few witnesses there. Talking away from this incident - having a fault where the half-barriers stick down does not cause crashes if a train is coming. That is dependent of vehicles crossing while the barriers are down - or stopping on the track to look both ways and then stalling and not being able to restart. As long a cars can drive over rail tracks - there will always be crashes.[/p][/quote]it doesn't help that at this particular crossing there is a sharp bend if you approach from yarnton. If the barriers don't come down people will be killed, i think its best they install full barriers at all crossings ! MadMan-JaYmZ

4:15pm Fri 4 Jan 13

King Joke says...

'If the barriers don't come down people will be killed, i think its best they install full barriers at all crossings !'

But the barriers ARE down. People will be killed if they keep abusing a safe system.

THis is such a small road, it's unlikely they will install full barriers, and the attendant CCTV systems and lighting this requires. It is more likely the crossing will simply be closed.
'If the barriers don't come down people will be killed, i think its best they install full barriers at all crossings !' But the barriers ARE down. People will be killed if they keep abusing a safe system. THis is such a small road, it's unlikely they will install full barriers, and the attendant CCTV systems and lighting this requires. It is more likely the crossing will simply be closed. King Joke

4:42pm Fri 4 Jan 13

WayneT says...

The only problem with full barriers come when somebody does hesitate too long and gets stuck between them.

Watch a few cars go over this (or any slow crossing) and see how many people actually stop on the track to look to see if anything is coming.

The only safe option to cross a track is a bridge.
The only problem with full barriers come when somebody does hesitate too long and gets stuck between them. Watch a few cars go over this (or any slow crossing) and see how many people actually stop on the track to look to see if anything is coming. The only safe option to cross a track is a bridge. WayneT

5:12pm Fri 4 Jan 13

MadMan-JaYmZ says...

King Joke wrote:
'If the barriers don't come down people will be killed, i think its best they install full barriers at all crossings !'

But the barriers ARE down. People will be killed if they keep abusing a safe system.

THis is such a small road, it's unlikely they will install full barriers, and the attendant CCTV systems and lighting this requires. It is more likely the crossing will simply be closed.
i think you miss understood what i wrote, looking back now its doesn't explain it very well.

I know the barriers was down, it was more to say british rail can't win, if the barriers don't come down its thier fault, if they do come down and people are killed its there fault cos apparently they stay down to long etc etc.

I would rather they stay down to long than not at all !
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: 'If the barriers don't come down people will be killed, i think its best they install full barriers at all crossings !' But the barriers ARE down. People will be killed if they keep abusing a safe system. THis is such a small road, it's unlikely they will install full barriers, and the attendant CCTV systems and lighting this requires. It is more likely the crossing will simply be closed.[/p][/quote]i think you miss understood what i wrote, looking back now its doesn't explain it very well. I know the barriers was down, it was more to say british rail can't win, if the barriers don't come down its thier fault, if they do come down and people are killed its there fault cos apparently they stay down to long etc etc. I would rather they stay down to long than not at all ! MadMan-JaYmZ

8:17am Mon 7 Jan 13

King Joke says...

MadMan-JaYmZ wrote:
King Joke wrote: 'If the barriers don't come down people will be killed, i think its best they install full barriers at all crossings !' But the barriers ARE down. People will be killed if they keep abusing a safe system. THis is such a small road, it's unlikely they will install full barriers, and the attendant CCTV systems and lighting this requires. It is more likely the crossing will simply be closed.
i think you miss understood what i wrote, looking back now its doesn't explain it very well. I know the barriers was down, it was more to say british rail can't win, if the barriers don't come down its thier fault, if they do come down and people are killed its there fault cos apparently they stay down to long etc etc. I would rather they stay down to long than not at all !
Jaymz - this crossing is a half barrier, so unless you're on the wrong side of the road the barriers will not stop you entering the crossing.

Even on full barrier crossings, the left-hand barriers come down first, so even if you are a bit slow getting across then you've still got a chance to exit.

On either type of crossing, the only way you can end up getting stuck on the tracks is if you abuse the crossing and enter it when the red lights are flashing.

You are right that 'British Rail (sic)' (Network Rail these days) can't win though, the press will do anything to make a story look exciting, and NR wrongdoing sells much more papers than motorist abuse.
[quote][p][bold]MadMan-JaYmZ[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: 'If the barriers don't come down people will be killed, i think its best they install full barriers at all crossings !' But the barriers ARE down. People will be killed if they keep abusing a safe system. THis is such a small road, it's unlikely they will install full barriers, and the attendant CCTV systems and lighting this requires. It is more likely the crossing will simply be closed.[/p][/quote]i think you miss understood what i wrote, looking back now its doesn't explain it very well. I know the barriers was down, it was more to say british rail can't win, if the barriers don't come down its thier fault, if they do come down and people are killed its there fault cos apparently they stay down to long etc etc. I would rather they stay down to long than not at all ![/p][/quote]Jaymz - this crossing is a half barrier, so unless you're on the wrong side of the road the barriers will not stop you entering the crossing. Even on full barrier crossings, the left-hand barriers come down first, so even if you are a bit slow getting across then you've still got a chance to exit. On either type of crossing, the only way you can end up getting stuck on the tracks is if you abuse the crossing and enter it when the red lights are flashing. You are right that 'British Rail (sic)' (Network Rail these days) can't win though, the press will do anything to make a story look exciting, and NR wrongdoing sells much more papers than motorist abuse. King Joke

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