Mother’s horror after daughter’s near-miss

Herald Series: Alex Jacob has raised fears over the safety of the level crossings in Steventon after her daughter Elizabeth, two, managed to get through a gap in the barrier Alex Jacob has raised fears over the safety of the level crossings in Steventon after her daughter Elizabeth, two, managed to get through a gap in the barrier

A MUM has criticised Rail bosses after her infant daughter got through a level crossing gap seconds before a train hurtled by.

Alex Jacob said the gap only appeared when a new crossing was installed under controversial Network Rail plans.

But the rail infrastructure firm has said parents had to take responsibility for their children’s safety.

The two village crossings in Steventon are the only ones in a residential area on a high speed line in the country.

Mrs Jacob, 41, was with daughter Elizabeth and her dog when they came to the crossing at The Causeway on May 4.

Earlier this year Network Rail removed staff who operated the barriers on site and it now runs them remotely via CCTV from Swindon.

She said: “I stopped to put the dog on the lead and, as I was doing that, my two-year-old walked up to the gates, which were down.

“I wasn’t too concerned as I assumed there was no way she could get onto the line and that she would just stand at the gates and watch the train.

“To my horror she turned to her left and began to slip down a toddler-sized gap between the barrier base and fence.”

Mrs Jacob said she “dived” to grab Elizabeth before she got through the other side, “a split second before she would have gone out of my reach”.

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She said: “A few seconds later a train came past.”

She fears a child or dog could pass through the gap at the crossing and another at Stocks Lane in the village.

The Stocks Lane resident, also mum to Isabelle, four months, said: “I believe that the railway has a duty of care to ensure such holes and gaps do not exist.”

Steventon Parish Council opposed the move to remove staff from the site and has raised Mrs Jacob’s case with Network Rail. The new barrier system took effect from April 15. No jobs were lost.

Network Rail spokesman Kate Snowden said: “The level crossing at Causeway has recently been renewed is now automated and operated with CCTV managed at Swindon integrated control.

“The crossing is a visual and physical barrier to warn motorists and pedestrians of approaching trains, but just as with crossings on busy roads, anyone waiting with small children or pets should keep them close.

“As a safety measure, the signaller will check the crossing is clear on the monitor before letting trains pass.”

Steventon parish councillor Joe Bennett said: “We have had numerous problems with Network Rail over the past year since it pushed through the changes to the crossing.

“The latest problem is they have left large gaps in the fence either side of the barriers, meaning that small children are able to sneak through the gap.

“We told them about this a long time ago and they have still done nothing about it.”

Comments (10)

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12:02pm Sat 23 Jun 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

"But the rail infrastructure firm has said parents had to take responsibility for their children’s safety.".......
.......Completely agree, too many people are so quick to blame others, when it's obviously their own inadequacies that are the cause.
"But the rail infrastructure firm has said parents had to take responsibility for their children’s safety."....... .......Completely agree, too many people are so quick to blame others, when it's obviously their own inadequacies that are the cause. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 13

12:33pm Sat 23 Jun 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Dilligaf2010 wrote:
"But the rail infrastructure firm has said parents had to take responsibility for their children’s safety.".......
.......Completely agree, too many people are so quick to blame others, when it's obviously their own inadequacies that are the cause.
Exactly!

Why was the dog out in public without being on a leash?

Why not have a 2 year old wearing reins?

The child had clearly already been exposed to a barrier-free road prior to approaching the railway line.
[quote][p][bold]Dilligaf2010[/bold] wrote: "But the rail infrastructure firm has said parents had to take responsibility for their children’s safety."....... .......Completely agree, too many people are so quick to blame others, when it's obviously their own inadequacies that are the cause.[/p][/quote]Exactly! Why was the dog out in public without being on a leash? Why not have a 2 year old wearing reins? The child had clearly already been exposed to a barrier-free road prior to approaching the railway line. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 12

2:27pm Sat 23 Jun 12

aliej says...

This is a non-story, the child is 2 so should have been on reins or holding the mother's hand. our children are our responsibility not everyone elses.
This is a non-story, the child is 2 so should have been on reins or holding the mother's hand. our children are our responsibility not everyone elses. aliej
  • Score: 12

10:48pm Sun 24 Jun 12

Feelingsmatter says...

What a thoroughly stupid woman! These barriers are not there to stop tiny children getting through! How on earth could she possibly blame anyone except herself? I'm so sick of mothers who think the world should revolve around them. I lived in Steventon for years, and this has never happened before because usually people aren't stupid enough to let their babies walk around unattended next to a high-speed train line.

“I wasn’t too concerned as I assumed there was no way she could get onto the line and that she would just stand at the gates and watch the train." says Alex. Seriously? You live on Stocks Lane and you've never notices the massive gap which runs along the entire length of the barrier or the "toddler-sized" gap in the middle. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Buy some reigns!!
What a thoroughly stupid woman! These barriers are not there to stop tiny children getting through! How on earth could she possibly blame anyone except herself? I'm so sick of mothers who think the world should revolve around them. I lived in Steventon for years, and this has never happened before because usually people aren't stupid enough to let their babies walk around unattended next to a high-speed train line. “I wasn’t too concerned as I assumed there was no way she could get onto the line and that she would just stand at the gates and watch the train." says Alex. Seriously? You live on Stocks Lane and you've never notices the massive gap which runs along the entire length of the barrier or the "toddler-sized" gap in the middle. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Buy some reigns!! Feelingsmatter
  • Score: 5

10:49am Mon 25 Jun 12

LW-wallingford says...

wow... so basically what this story is saying, is that this woman, was not paying attention to her 2 year old child, but noticed just in time that her lack of attention could have cost a life, then tried to pass the blame.

niceee...

just wait for the near miss when crossing a road because she isnt paying attention. suppose it should then be up to councils and government to put barriers along side every foot path.
wow... so basically what this story is saying, is that this woman, was not paying attention to her 2 year old child, but noticed just in time that her lack of attention could have cost a life, then tried to pass the blame. niceee... just wait for the near miss when crossing a road because she isnt paying attention. suppose it should then be up to councils and government to put barriers along side every foot path. LW-wallingford
  • Score: 5

11:47am Mon 25 Jun 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

Has anybody reported her to Social Services, it's obvious she desperately needs parenting advice .
Has anybody reported her to Social Services, it's obvious she desperately needs parenting advice . Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 5

5:44pm Mon 25 Jun 12

Abingdon Rob says...

Yes she should have been looking after her child, but two year olds can wriggle away in a split second. Why shouldnt we be asking Network Rail to improve the barriers for next time a child or dog manages to slip away during a half second lapse of concentration? it is hardly going to harm anyone else and could possible save a life.
Personally, I do not consider myself suitably qualified to judge this ladys parenting.
Yes she should have been looking after her child, but two year olds can wriggle away in a split second. Why shouldnt we be asking Network Rail to improve the barriers for next time a child or dog manages to slip away during a half second lapse of concentration? it is hardly going to harm anyone else and could possible save a life. Personally, I do not consider myself suitably qualified to judge this ladys parenting. Abingdon Rob
  • Score: -3

4:41pm Tue 26 Jun 12

Feelingsmatter says...

Because, Abingdon Rob, in the 43 years of living memory I have this has never, ever happened in Steventon. Common sense is clearly lacking in this woman's brain, so why should others pay for it? Personal accountability seems to be going out of fashion fast!!
Because, Abingdon Rob, in the 43 years of living memory I have this has never, ever happened in Steventon. Common sense is clearly lacking in this woman's brain, so why should others pay for it? Personal accountability seems to be going out of fashion fast!! Feelingsmatter
  • Score: 2

9:22am Wed 27 Jun 12

thersa says...

Whats the matter with people?Surely the child should have been strapped safely in a pushchair. Tthe mother put her dogs afety before her childs.
Whats the matter with people?Surely the child should have been strapped safely in a pushchair. Tthe mother put her dogs afety before her childs. thersa
  • Score: 1

7:44pm Wed 27 Jun 12

LRoydy says...

What astounds me is that not only is she so stupid and negligent, but that she is willing to advertise it. Why do people like this have children? Please don't have any more, you ridiculous woman. Social Services need to assess her quickly.
What astounds me is that not only is she so stupid and negligent, but that she is willing to advertise it. Why do people like this have children? Please don't have any more, you ridiculous woman. Social Services need to assess her quickly. LRoydy
  • Score: 2

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