Second rail death sparks new safety fears

Floral tributes at the Hipperholme railway crossing
Floral tributes at the Hipperholme railway crossing

Concerns have arisen after Kimberley Needham, 39, from Halifax, was hit by the 6.15pm Manchester to Leeds Northern Rail service close to Hipperholme Tunnel, near Halifax, on Monday, December 29, 2014.

Her death came two weeks after 16-year-old Milena Gagic, 16, who was a sixth form student at Crossley Heath School in Halifax and a former pupil at Brighouse High, was killed in the same place on December 13.

Now, Councillor David Kirton (Con, Hipp/Light) said he will be asking Network Rail to look into the safety surrounding the track.

“It is very tragic to see these very serious accidents. I will be contacting Network Rail to raise my concerns to see if there is anything that can be done.

“It might be similar to how the highways work - when a number of deaths occur they look into the situation and bring in safety measures.

“It would be nice to have some sort of fencing down the side of the track. I do have particular concerns at the crossing through Lightcliffe Golf Club in both directions. I know the trains do blow their horns coming in and out of the tunnel but it I am concerned for those hard of hearing and how open the crossing is.”

In September there was another tragic accident on the railway line as William Roberts, 67, of Lydgate Park, Lightcliffe, was hit by a train at the crossing at Lightcliffe Golf Club.

Coun Graham Hall (Con Hipp/Light) said that he has been told by a Hipperholme resident that there is a possible blind spot at the crossing and he will visit the site.

“I will be following this up with Network Rail and I am happy to work with them to see if anything can be put in place to make the line safer. Hopefully if anything can be done to make it safer we will work with Network Rail to get it implemented. These have been tragic incidents. My thoughts and prayers go out to those people.”

Coun Colin Raistrick (Ind, Hipp/Light) said people have been shocked by the deaths.

“I hope there is a thorough investigation taken on the line and recommendations to improve the line,” he said.

“The crossing has always been a cause for a concern.

“It is tragic for both the families and the train drivers.”