Driver in rail crossing crash to be sentenced

22 February 2013

The driver of a hay lorry that was driven in front of a train on a level crossing at Llanboidy level crossing near Whitland in west Wales in December 2011 is to be sentenced in Swansea Crown Court today. More than two dozen passengers were injured when Oswald Davies drove his lorry onto the track in front of a train.

ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan says the case highlights the fact that the public fails to realise, or ignores, the dangers inherent in railways, and especially on level crossings.‘It is the same in all age groups. We have children trespassing, young people in a hurry running over lines and foolishly impatient car and tractor drivers.It is a national malaise.’

Mick says that the traumas suffered by train drivers in these incidents are frequently overlooked. ‘Our members are the invisible victims. Many are never able to drive trains again after witnessing a body lying dead under their train. Yet it is no fault of their own.

‘The government shows a poor example by its lack of concern. It used to recognise a driver’s trauma with a criminal injuries award, but last month it removed even this small recognition.’

Mick said he was mystified how there seemed to be different standards for train and car drivers. ‘If a train driver was utterly careless and chose to run through a few red lights, he would be imprisoned without a thought. Yet a car or tractor driver does the same thing and it is too often treated as an unfortunate accident.

‘It’s not. It’s a crime that can kill.

‘The lesson we all need to learn,from schools onwards, is that the railways are bright, exciting and romantic.But they are also full of danger.

‘Today’s case underlines the need for more education and publicity about the need to treat railway lines, trains and our members who drive them, with the respect they deserve.’

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