THE SIGNAL BOX

BRANCH LINES

 

Accident at Howdon Crossing 29/09/00

by Ian Hughes

Police check the crossing after the
Police check the crossing after the accident

General

At approx 10.00 hrs on the 29/09/00 an accident occurred between a Ford Transit van and a Metro set at the Road / Railway crossing at Howdon North Tyneside. Howdon is situated on the Newcastle Tynemouth line of the Tyne and Wear Metro system. The Van was travelling generally North to South across the crossing whilst the Metro set was travelling generally from East to West i.e. from the Coast to Town.

Drivers eye view of the crossing the set
Drivers eye view of the crossing the set shown was not involved in the accident.

There were approximately 15 passengers and a driver on the Metro set the van contained only the driver, there were no reported injuries at the time. Damage to the Metro set and the road vehicle were light. Disruption was high with the line closed for the best part of three hours and a replacement bus service having to be laid on.

Drivers Eye view of the crossing showing the
Drivers Eye view of the crossing showing the set involved in the accident

This crossing is of the open type and has a history of collisions usually the road vehicles involved are travelling North to South and the drivers complain of having sun in their eyes. Anecdotal evidence at the scene suggested that this was the case in this accident.

Set involved showing damage to right hand
Set involved showing damage to right hand front lower corner

Crossing Protection and Operation

Two-aspect colour light signals, station design and particular operational techniques protect the crossing. When Howdon Station was rebuilt for the Metro service the platform on the Town side line was moved to the East Side of the road crossing so the platforms are staggered on the approach side of the road crossing which means all sets stop prior to final approach to the crossing. The stop line on the platform is approximately 50 yards from the first boundary line on the approach side of the crossing. As the set moves off from a stand approx 4 seconds of traction power is allowed before the set crosses a treadle which cuts the traction power making the set effectively coast over the crossing at approx 5 mph before power is restored and the set accelerates away

Close up of the damaged set
Close up of the damaged set

Sequence & Timings

All sets stop at the platform stop line approaching a signal showing a red aspect average timings are taken from set stop.

Road warning sequence starts 3 secs.
Signal clears 21 secs.
Set away 25 secs.
Power off 29 secs.
Set enters crossing 34 secs.
Set clears crossing 45 secs.
Sequence ends 47 secs

Full sequence timing depends on set loading unloading these timings were taken mid Sat am and will lengthen as passenger numbers alighting boarding at the station increases.

Sequence from the Roadside of the Crossing.

Car drivers get a steady yellow light for 3 seconds then: -
Red flashing lights and klaxons.
Set enters crossing 31 seconds from start of sequence.
Set clears crossing 41 seconds from start of sequence.
Sequence ends after 44 seconds, average of 4 timings.

Damage to the van on the N/S/F
Damage to the van on the N/S/F bonnet.

These notes are written from observations only, anybody with a more detailed knowledge that would like to update the article or me can contact me at by email

Ian Hughes 30/09/00.