Elderly man falls on train tracks at west Hull level crossing as barriers come down

A man fell on the railway tracks at a level crossing in Hull just as the barriers came down, sparking a desperate effort to rescue him.

The man, who a witness described as "elderly", had been crossing at the St George's Road level crossing near Anlaby Road when the alarms sounded and the barriers came down on Wednesday (May 1). He then fell and landed directly on the train tracks.

People then frantically leaped over the barriers to save him, believing the man's life was at risk and he was moments from being struck by a train. Karl Shannon, who had been in a car waiting at the crossing, was one of those who joined the rescue.


He told the BBC : "I saw the warning signal had come on and the gates were going to shut. And I could see an elderly gentleman struggling to cross the crossing.

"I thought, 'He's not going to make it'. With that, he tripped over and fell on the train tracks just as the gate was coming down. The poor gentleman was laid on the train tracks with both gates down. He was unable to get back to his feet."

Network Rail said nobody was in danger because its signallers closely watch the level crossings and alert train drivers of obstructions. But Karl and the other rescuers valiantly sprang into action, even though they believed they could have been injured or killed themselves.

Karl said: "We need to be quick - that's the only thing I was thinking. I was keeping an eye out that we don't get hit by a train ourselves. It's quite hard, looking both ways and grabbing him [the fallen man] and getting him over there.

"It was fast, it was all over so fast. Luckily for everyone, he was uninjured. There were a lot of people who thanked me, because they thought they were going to witness him get run over and killed."

Network Rail said pedestrians mustn't panic when the alarms sound and said trains will only pass when level crossings are clear. In its latest rail safety report, the Office of Rail and Road said there were six fatalities at level crossings in the period April 2022 to March 2023.

The six deaths involved four pedestrians on the mainline, one motorcyclist on the mainline, and a member of the public on a scooter at a footpath crossing on the non-mainline network.