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Longer barrier is not the answer - TRL

A LONGER crash barrier might not have prevented last week's fatal train crash at Selby, according to a preliminary report into the disaster from road research body TRL.

There has been widespread criticism of the Highways Agency for providing little more than a minimum protective barrier where the M62 crossed the East Coast Main Line.

But TRL said the barrier would have had to have been more than double the minimum length to have restrained the Land Rover and trailer that crashed on to the rail line and triggered the disaster.

The report also states that even with a crash barrier, there was no certainty that it would have been adequate to prevent the fall, as the vehicle/trailer combination was outside the specification for that type of barrier.

On the M62 the barrier ran full height for 33.5m in advance of the parapet, with an additional 9.2m of ramping down to the anchor point - well within current standards.

According to the TRL report, the vehicle left the motorway 50m before the start of the barrier, meaning the fence would have to have been more than 90m long, to have had any chance of arresting its progress.

However, the report does conclude that if the Land Rover had hit the barrier, it is 'our preliminary opinion' that the barrier would have been 'likely' to stop the vehicle reaching the railway line.

An investigation by TRL into the road surface showed it to be adequate in terms of winter maintenance, alignment and skid resistance, and was not contributory. It also states that it was not icy at the time of the crash.

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