Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Safety call after Bentley rail crossing death

Rail crossing Image copyright Google
Image caption Sgt Mark Snook of British Transport Police said it was the responsibility of users to check whether it was safe to use the crossing

The family of an 83-year-old man killed by a train on a railway crossing has called for safety improvements.

Derek Thomas was crossing the line on his mobility scooter at Bentley, Hampshire, in October last year when he was struck by a train.

An inquest heard low sun and wind gusts could have restricted Mr Thomas's ability to see and hear the train.

Following the hearing, Mr Thomas's brother and daughter called for new lights to warn of approaching trains.

The inquest in Basingstoke heard Mr Thomas had been taking his dog for a walk when the accident happened at about 16:20 GMT on 5 October.

The driver of the train, George Hornby, who works for South West Trains, said he had seen Mr Thomas and applied the emergency brake but the train did not stop in time.

He said: "I do not believe he was alarmed or aware what was happening."

The court was told Mr Thomas died instantly from multiple injuries.

His black Labrador was found growling next to his body.

'Second death'

Sgt Mark Snook of British Transport Police said it was the responsibility of users to check whether it was safe to use the crossing.

However, Paul Tickner of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the sun and wind may have made it harder to see and hear the train.

Mr Thomas's brother, Graham, said: "My feeling is that if nothing is done we could see a second death because a lot of people use that crossing."

Mr Thomas's daughter, Carin Harrington, said lights needed to be installed at the crossing to warn users.

Coroner Andrew Bradley said the RAIB was continuing its investigation and would make any recommendations for improvements to Network Rail.

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