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'My wife was begging me to breathe' - Rail worker hit by car trying to jump barriers at level crossing

Doug Caddell was hit by a car at a level crossing

A railway worker has been talking of the terrifying moment he was seriously injured as he closed a gate at a level crossing. Doug Caddell was hurt when a car - trying to jump the barriers - struck the gate, throwing him to the ground.

Network Rail have now started a campaign warning drivers and cyclists of the dangers at level crossings. Tom Savvides reports.

More talks to be held ahead of rail strike

Rail bosses have threatened legal action against one of the two unions planning a 24 hour national rail strike from 5pm on Bank Holiday Monday.

Network Rail said it would seek a High Court injunction against the TSSA union if it continued with plans to take part in the strike.

An NR spokeswoman said: “We have asked the TSSA to withdraw notice of their industrial action as we believe there are numerous defects in the ballot information.”

A senior source made clear that if the union refused to withdraw the action than NR would seek the Injunction to try and prevent it taking part in the walkout. The TSSA, with 3,000 members, is far smaller than the RMT which has 16,000 NR workers including key signalling staff who have the power on their own to halt the railways. Any legal action would not include the RMT and the strike is still scheduled to go ahead.

A second day of talks to try and avert the strike was today taking place at Acas, the conciliation service. If any injunction were successful it would stop TSSA members, which also include senior signal technicians, from taking part in the strike – but a walkout by RMT members would still bring the majority of the national rail network, including most London commuter routes, to a standstill.

The dispute is over pay and working conditions. NR has offered pay increases of RPI for 2016, 2017 and 2018. For this year there would be a £500 non-consolidated lump sum payment – a no compulsory redundancy commitment would be extended until the end of next year.

The RMT has also ordered a 48 hour overtime ban covering all of Bank Holiday Monday and the Tuesday and which would add to the disruption. The union has refused to rule out further strikes if agreement is not reached.

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Warning over dangers of level crossings

Pedestrians are risking injury or death by taking shortcuts and climbing over fencing at Grays level crossing in Essex, Network Rail and Thurrock Council have warned.

In the last six months, more than 260 incidents have been recorded. People have been seen by CCTV jumping off the platform, walking along the tracks to the crossing to exit the station or entering the station through the crossing and then coming on to the platform.

Others have damaged the barrier railings making them wide enough for a young child to squeeze through.

"It may be tempting to shave a minute or two off your journey but this a busy line and people are putting their lives at risk by walking on the track or trying to beat the barriers. Some people may think that taking a shortcut along the tracks isn’t really a risk, that they can get out of the way of the train but fatality figures show this isn’t the case. Waiting at a crossing can sometimes be frustrating but ignoring safety measures can result in tragic consequences, something we want to prevent. Over the next few weeks, we will be working with the council and the police by stepping up patrols, leafleting the area and holding a dedicated awareness day to reduce the number of incidents. However, if this situation continues we may have to seriously consider closing the level crossing as a last resort. The level of risk that people are putting themselves in is simply too high.”

– Steve Cassidy, Network Rail area director

Rail boss gives up bonus after weekend of chaos

Network Rail Chief Executive Mark Carne to give up bonus following weekend chaos caused by overrunning engineering works, he has revealed to ITV News Meridian.

It's thought he's missing out on £34,000, but he could have been paid up to £150,000.

The rail boss is at Reading station today apologising to passengers following the delays.

Network Rail boss Mark Carne has given up his bonus following the chaos

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£200 million to make journeys easier for rail travellers

Work continues on the rail network over the festive period, with 11,000 staff working on track and signals. Among the key projects in the south are:

London Bridge - Over 1,000 staff are laying new track, signals and working on the station redevelopment that will ease capacity. It is part of the £6.5 billion Thameslink Project. It will lead to improvements to rail services from Sussex, Surrey and Kent to London. Work continues until January 5th.

Reading - A new flyover is being completed to ease congestion outside the station costing £45 million. It is one of the final phases of the £900 million station upgrade. The new flyover opens on January 4th.

South West Trains - Hundreds of staff are working on the lines into Waterloo to renew points. Work continues during weekends in January and February.

West Coast - At Watford major work is being carried out to improve services through Buckinghamshire to the north and Scotland.

“Making the railway better is what we aim to do every day and our investment programme this Christmas, the biggest yet, is fully focused on delivering a better service for passengers.

“Passenger numbers have doubled since 1997 and this Christmas investment programme forms a key part of the record £25 billion being invested in our railway over the next five years to meet growing demand and improve and expand our congested railway network.

“With an 11,000-strong army we will deliver a huge amount of work during a quieter time for train travel. New technology and working practices mean we can keep lines open while our people work safely alongside, causing much less disruption than would otherwise be the case.”

– Jim Syddall, Route Manager, Network Rail
Hundreds of Network Rail staff at London Bridge work to improve the lines from Kent, Sussex and Surrey to London. Credit: ITV Meridian/Mike Pearse
In the festive spirit on Christmas Dayy Credit: ITV Meridian/Mike Pearse

Rail workers tuck into some festive cheer: Chips rather than turkey

A record 11,000 rail engineers are working over the festive period to maintain and renew track and signals.

Network Rail staff are out at 3,000 locations with £200 million being spent.

Among the key projects in the south are:

London Bridge - Over 1,000 staff are laying new track, signals and working on the station redevelopment that will ease capacity. It is part of the £6.5 billion Thameslink Project.

It will lead to improvements to rail services from Sussex, Surrey and Kent to London. Work continues until January 5th.

Christmas Day dinner .... with chips Credit: ITV Meridian
Mayonnaise with chips on Christmas Day Credit: ITV Meridian

Work at Lewisham station completed

Commuters who have had their journeys disrupted over the last month have been thanked for their patience after Network Rail completed repair work at Lewisham, allowing normal services to resume.

A number of trains had to be diverted from their normal routes over the last month after Network Rail took emergency action to remove a damaged piece of railway. The ‘diamond crossing’ as it is known, allows trains to cross from one track to another where a number of routes meet at Lewisham.

The unique layout of the tracks at Lewisham meant a bespoke replacement had to be fabricated at a specialist steelworks in Scunthorpe before being installed on Friday night.

“We have really appreciated everyone’s patience this month and I understand what an impact the changed timetable has had on people. Keeping passengers safe is our top priority and that’s why we had to replace the damaged piece of railway. I’m pleased for everyone who relies on the railway that services have returned to normal.”

– Network Rail’s area director for Kent, Ellie Burrows

“We’re pleased that the damaged equipment at Lewisham has been repaired and that we’re now able to run a full service through the area. We’ve worked closely with our colleagues at Network Rail to ensure that the repair could be carried out as soon as possible. I’m grateful to all of our passengers for their patience over the past few weeks and pleased that we’ll be able to offer a better level of service on the route now that this work is complete.”

– Southeastern managing director, David Statham

More disruption for rail passengers in the south

Work to rebuild platforms at London Bridge Credit: ITV Meridian

Hundreds of thousands of rail passengers face major disruption later this month with a nine day closure of half the platforms at London Bridge to allow work to rebuild the station.

Work to rebuild platforms at London Bridge Credit: ITV Meridian

Exclusive pictures below show work at the station which is part of the £6.5 billion Thameslink project.

Work to rebuild platforms at London Bridge Credit: ITV Meridian

Rail managers say the closure will allow new platforms to open in September, a key part of the project. More closure will take pace at Christmas.

ITV Meridian spoke to Dave Ward from Network Rail.

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