Nottingham

Emma Lifsey rail death crash: Network Rail apologises

Emma Lifsey
Image caption Emma Lifsey's family said her death had left a gaping hole in their lives

Network Rail has apologised to the family of a four-year-old girl who was killed when a train travelling at 60mph hit the car she was in.

Emma Lifsey was with her grandmother, who was driving, when the car was struck at Beech Hill Crossing, Nottinghamshire, on 4 December, 2012.

An inquest at Nottingham Coroners' Court heard the red warning lights were old and could not be seen against bright sun on a wet road.

They have since been replaced.

Ms Lifsey, from Haxey, North Lincolnshire, died in hospital the day after the crash.

'Heart wrenching tale'

An earlier Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) report found the lights, which were tested in a laboratory, were too dim and had output well below the specification for lights of this type.

Emma's grandmother, who survived the collision, told the investigation she only noticed the lights and barriers when she was very close to the crossing.

Network Rail's Phil Graham said: "I would like to apologise to Emma's family for any impact that the condition of our lights have had on this tragic accident."

He added: "We work tirelessly for level crossing safety - we've now got the safest level crossings in Europe, but all of that falls to nothing when you hear this heart wrenching tale."

Assistant coroner Heidi Connor accepted Network Rail had made some improvements to crossings using this type of light, but told the firm they needed to make changes more quickly.

Beech Hill is due to be modernised later this year.

The coroner concluded the death was by accident.

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