Author Topic: Vertical discrepancies  (Read 3402 times)

A V Lowe

Vertical discrepancies
« on: July 12, 2011, 06:44:25 am »
I've had an interest in this going back to the testing of the daft tramline paving used to define the side of a path which is for pedestrian or cycle traffic.  They got this completely wrong with the ridges parallel to bike wheels and transverse on the foot traffic side.  Many installations use the wrong profile, and those with steep and square edges and excessive height have brought down cyclists.  There were extensive tests done by TRL for DETR that established the 'safe' height and profile some 20-25 years ago, but so far my attempts to find any documentation have not been successful. Similar research determined the profile for the rumble markings where the thermoplastic lining material (as dangerous as tar banding in the wet, especially if the friction factor is not enhanced) has little ridges moulded in.  This was tested to determine the profile which would be sufficient to wake up a driver but not so bad as to pull down a motorcyclist.

The paving should not be used on corners, where it is more likely to be struck obliquely by the wheels (imagine the way the wheels can go sideways as you cross a badly installed dropped kerb) and drainage is important (ice can form when fillets of trapped water freeze). 

Such features are also part of road repairs (small settlements in trench backfilling leave a ridge that kicks tyres sideways) and are IMO far more relevant than 'slippery' rails when crossing rail lines.  The misalignment critical range is I reckon, between 5mm and 20mm.  Less that this and you'll not notice in normal conditions. more and it becomes something you can see and have to positively 'lift' the bike to clear it.  Yet railway crossings especially do not have a 'vertical' standard to emphasise to those carrying out inspections.

We did press to get tramway rail-road profiles (on the newly installed track) altered to +0mm to -6mm so that a tyre contact patch is more likely to bridge a rail to contact the 'road' on either side but that is about all, and a report on the notorious Walton Street Crossing in Hull before it was re-constructed showed massive vertical misalignments between rails and road panels.  Interestingly you should actually make a RIDDOR report (HSAW - Section 3 being duty of care and reporting incidents affecting non-employees on the relevant sites) if you fall and injure yourself on a rail level crossing, and it should be entered in the signallers log, as for a very brief moment you might be blocking the rail line and at risk.  Indications suggest that there is substantial under reporting of such events, and I'm looking for examples.

Failure to take the slippery state of one crossing with the appropriate level of urgency, highlighted in official reports for 12 years, eventually saw a pedestrian killed after she slipped and was unable to get clear of an oncoming train.  Reporting faults keeps pressing the operators to keep standards high, and reduce risks.  It may also drive the improvement of some detail - looking at some tramlines after even a short time in use, the edges abutting tarmac or concrete 'road' are positively enhancing the risk of trapping or kicking wheels of bikes, wheelchairs etc, and should drive the use of better designs, and higher maintenance standards at critical locations.

As an example of non reporting and poor maintenance standards*, one incident particularly fired me up.  A couple on a tandem fell on a crossing and were helped up and clear of the 90mph main line by another cyclist, who had also fallen at the same location, as had his son, and others known to them, and a motorcyclist.  The crossing is one of 4 on the same minor road which crosses the same rail line 4 times in under 2 miles, along with a staff access crossing to a relay room.  Between 2 & 3 of the road crossings AND the staff crossing could be eliminated if the old station site, and a combination of some railway and some private land was used to put a new road on one side of the railway and links for the road loops on the opposite side connected.  Improving things for all users

Thus I'm interested in comparing reports and A&E visits arising from falls crossing rails, with the logged incidents recorded by the rail operators (remember that there are around 400 railway operators in the UK - Network Rail is simply the largest of them).

*Photos taken by the couple on a visit after their crash show various defects, including a statutory sign lying face-up at the foot of the pole it should be fixed to, and 2 telephones to choose from (a redundant unit not removed?) to call a signaller in an emergency.  Note here that in an emergency, stopping the trains as quickly as possible makes the recovery of people and large objects a safer task, it ranks in priority with the recovery of people from the line. 

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2011, 09:43:06 am »
An interesting and recurrent subject.  Please share any info you uncover.
Getting there...

arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2011, 11:46:22 am »
If you want a story I can give you one.  Its a level X one - no tramways near here, June '10.

What I've often throught is that an indication of the slantiness of a level X would help.  Then know what position to get in so can cross as perpendicularly as possible.
ie near left to far right - start in middle of road and move back to left
near right to far left - start in left and drift out to  middle

(plus that hard to give driver education so no overtaking of cyclists near level Xs and they don't ignore my hand pushed back (don't overtake) gesture)

First I've heard about the HSAWA/RIDDOR report.
In the dark, all views are the same.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2011, 12:25:18 pm »
I saw two cyclists come down at Leeming Bar in 1995. The crossing was wet. The rails are oblique to the road. One rider went to hosptal.

IanDG

  • The p*** artist formerly known as 'Windy'
    • My Instagram
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2011, 12:29:20 pm »
Blonde came down on a wet level crossing (rails oblique to road) when we were on the (C+/ACF) Torridon YH Weekend a few years back

Steph

  • Fast. Fast and bulbous. But fluffy.
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2011, 07:36:26 pm »
There is a road in Calais which I have ridden along more than a few times. It has multiple rail crossings, all of which are at an angle of about 45 degrees to direction of travel, and thus needing a wide swing to cross so as not to come a cropper. The idea of having to try and do that in heavy traffic is rather frightening.
Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2011, 08:07:20 pm »
I find the parallel ribbed paving is lethal in the wet if you have relatively narrow tyres (say 32mm or less).  Wider tyres are normally OK because they straddle the ribs and don't get a significant side load.

On 23mm tyres I go for the ped side of the path (assuming it's clear) to avoid the longways ribs.
Never tell me the odds.

A V Lowe

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2011, 01:55:28 am »
I saw two cyclists come down at Leeming Bar in 1995. The crossing was wet. The rails are oblique to the road. One rider went to hosptal.

That sounds like the ironically named Aiskew - on A684 about 1K West of old A1 Leeming Bar Services on way to Bedale.  Rail operator is Wensleydale Railway. In Feb 2007 a local teacher died after falling - several hours later and a 28 day improvement notice was served.  The rubber panels were fettled to make some improvement and a plan to replace these with tarmac initiated.  However at least 2 other cyclists fell and broke bones before the work was carried out in June that year, including the brother of a well known cycling journalist.  One of those cyclists was adamant that he had crossed the rails square and fallen 'on the black bit' The crossing is still a serious hazard for cyclists and when I was last looking at it (driving North on A1) I stopped and corked the traffic behind to let a club ride use the full width of the road (and took a picture of them doing this).  I wonder which club that was?  Bedale LC is also one to watch - I'm advised that the damage is in part due to the construction traffic from the A1 works knocking the pan out of the rubber units, although the detail of getting the supporting system set up exactly right and other factors may influence the rate of wear/attrition.  On my last visit some of the panels at Bedale has split and were 'pumping' up & down even under light vehicles.

For an interesting read on the topic look up the RAIB report on the derailment at Croxton in Norfolk where a loose panel popped out and was hit by a car and a train, with a history of temporary 'repairs' which failed to understand what was causing the 'problem' of loose panels.

A V Lowe

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2011, 02:02:42 am »
Blonde came down on a wet level crossing (rails oblique to road) when we were on the (C+/ACF) Torridon YH Weekend a few years back

That'll be Garve LC I'd guess - one of the first rubber panel jobs and installed when the Bridge was removed (unusually replacing a bridge with a level crossing.  It does have Diagram 951 signs and possibly a TRO banning cycling, and a good case to demand that a 'road fit for purpose' is provided, so that all traffic an use it safely in the normal manner of driving & cycling - Statutory duty on Roads Authority.  Early rubber units moved around under heavy oblique loading from HGV's with fish &c coming down from West Coast and negotiating reverse curve to cross over rail line, often popping a panel. 

A V Lowe

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2011, 02:05:09 am »
If you want a story I can give you one.  Its a level X one - no tramways near here, June '10.

What I've often throught is that an indication of the slantiness of a level X would help.  Then know what position to get in so can cross as perpendicularly as possible.
ie near left to far right - start in middle of road and move back to left
near right to far left - start in left and drift out to  middle

(plus that hard to give driver education so no overtaking of cyclists near level Xs and they don't ignore my hand pushed back (don't overtake) gesture)

First I've heard about the HSAWA/RIDDOR report.

PM me with details/e-mail I've an invitation to discuss matters with relevant people.

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2011, 02:27:12 am »
There is an epically stupid dock side shared use cycle path in central Bristol sometimes used by the CTC as a ride meeting place (called Brunnels Buttery) where there are sunken tram/train lines criss crossing all over the place. You end up riding along between two of them with the slit where the rails are several inches deep when suddenly they start to converge and you end up meeting an oblique point, have to stop and get off to cross it, then continue only to have the same happen again a bit further on. Peds expect you to ride round them but you cant because move from the middle and you go down. So far I have seen about 10 cyclists come a cropper there. I always push my bike along there now, and express my distaste of meeting up there when it always claims a victim. They can't fill the deep crevices between the rails because there is still a working tram/train (I'm not sure which) there. It's just incredibly stupid to have it as a cycle path  :facepalm:

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IanDG

  • The p*** artist formerly known as 'Windy'
    • My Instagram
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2011, 07:26:05 am »
Blonde came down on a wet level crossing (rails oblique to road) when we were on the (C+/ACF) Torridon YH Weekend a few years back

That'll be Garve LC I'd guess - one of the first rubber panel jobs and installed when the Bridge was removed (unusually replacing a bridge with a level crossing.  It does have Diagram 951 signs and possibly a TRO banning cycling, and a good case to demand that a 'road fit for purpose' is provided, so that all traffic an use it safely in the normal manner of driving & cycling - Statutory duty on Roads Authority.  Early rubber units moved around under heavy oblique loading from HGV's with fish &c coming down from West Coast and negotiating reverse curve to cross over rail line, often popping a panel. 

No, not Garve, I know that one well as I use the Ullapool - Inverness road a lot. It was on the Lochcarron-Achnasheen Road (had to look at a map to remind me)

There's also a cattle grid on the Isle of Lewis Grimsiader-Crossbost road, that you have to approach at an angle. It's made from wide, smooth  bars. It's lethal when wet, so far I haven't been aware of anyone coming a cropper

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2011, 09:50:46 am »
There is an epically stupid dock side shared use cycle path in central Bristol sometimes used by the CTC as a ride meeting place (called Brunnels Buttery) where there are sunken tram/train lines criss crossing all over the place. You end up riding along between two of them with the slit where the rails are several inches deep when suddenly they start to converge and you end up meeting an oblique point, have to stop and get off to cross it, then continue only to have the same happen again a bit further on. Peds expect you to ride round them but you cant because move from the middle and you go down. So far I have seen about 10 cyclists come a cropper there. I always push my bike along there now, and express my distaste of meeting up there when it always claims a victim. They can't fill the deep crevices between the rails because there is still a working tram/train (I'm not sure which) there. It's just incredibly stupid to have it as a cycle path  :facepalm:

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It's a train on sunny weekends and very occasionally the cranes outside what is now M-Shed (which is well worth visiting). That's why there are so many rails - the trains ran underneath the cranes between their rails and also behind them. The presence of tourists who might not be looking beyond the screens on their cameras makes it worse. I've never had a problem there, but I've never ridden there in a group, which must make it worse as you can't have so much room for maneouvre. Why don't you suggest they meet the other side of Prince St, in front of those yellowy brick houses? I think that's also part of the cycle path but there's more room, fewer tourists, still a harbour view and no rails.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2011, 10:31:57 am »
There is an epically stupid dock side shared use cycle path in central Bristol sometimes used by the CTC as a ride meeting place (called Brunnels Buttery) where there are sunken tram/train lines criss crossing all over the place. You end up riding along between two of them with the slit where the rails are several inches deep when suddenly they start to converge and you end up meeting an oblique point, have to stop and get off to cross it, then continue only to have the same happen again a bit further on. Peds expect you to ride round them but you cant because move from the middle and you go down. So far I have seen about 10 cyclists come a cropper there. I always push my bike along there now, and express my distaste of meeting up there when it always claims a victim. They can't fill the deep crevices between the rails because there is still a working tram/train (I'm not sure which) there. It's just incredibly stupid to have it as a cycle path  :facepalm:

Google Maps
It's a train on sunny weekends and very occasionally the cranes outside what is now M-Shed (which is well worth visiting). That's why there are so many rails - the trains ran underneath the cranes between their rails and also behind them. The presence of tourists who might not be looking beyond the screens on their cameras makes it worse. I've never had a problem there, but I've never ridden there in a group, which must make it worse as you can't have so much room for maneouvre. Why don't you suggest they meet the other side of Prince St, in front of those yellowy brick houses? I think that's also part of the cycle path but there's more room, fewer tourists, still a harbour view and no rails.

The reason they meet there is the Brunnel's buttery rock cakes! I don't mind going there but I walk the raily bit and if I led a ride from there would insist everyone did the same I think. I really hate watching people crash  :hand:

A V Lowe

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2011, 11:59:31 am »
I'll start a thread on the tactile paving issue if it makes sense.  There is a recognised and approved profile for this, which should be a lozenge shape with rounded ends and a fully radiussed profile, not higher than 6mm IIRC.  Devon CC had to replace a load of locations that had used the wrong profile and I noticed that a lot of the stuff in Leicester/Leicestershire the other day seemed to be the wrong sort.

The stupidity of the decision to put cross-ribs on the 'foot' side and 'parallel' ribs on the cycle side is further demonstrated by the fact that pram and wheelchair users cross to the cycling side because it is more pleasant to use the parallel ribs than bump over the cross-ribs.  Unfortunately around 2 decades of installing the wrong arrangement makes it very difficult to switch round now!

I'd really love to get hold of the papers and documentation for the test that were carried out by TRL for DETR with cycles being ridden over the concrete units sprayed with water and liquid detergent, but to date I have not been able to track this down.  Similar tests were carried out to establish the profile of 'rumble' lines down the edge of motorways, to ensure these did not bring down motorcyclists.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2011, 12:26:23 pm »
There is an epically stupid dock side shared use cycle path in central Bristol sometimes used by the CTC as a ride meeting place (called Brunnels Buttery) where there are sunken tram/train lines criss crossing all over the place. You end up riding along between two of them with the slit where the rails are several inches deep when suddenly they start to converge and you end up meeting an oblique point, have to stop and get off to cross it, then continue only to have the same happen again a bit further on. Peds expect you to ride round them but you cant because move from the middle and you go down. So far I have seen about 10 cyclists come a cropper there. I always push my bike along there now, and express my distaste of meeting up there when it always claims a victim. They can't fill the deep crevices between the rails because there is still a working tram/train (I'm not sure which) there. It's just incredibly stupid to have it as a cycle path  :facepalm:

Google Maps
It's a train on sunny weekends and very occasionally the cranes outside what is now M-Shed (which is well worth visiting). That's why there are so many rails - the trains ran underneath the cranes between their rails and also behind them. The presence of tourists who might not be looking beyond the screens on their cameras makes it worse. I've never had a problem there, but I've never ridden there in a group, which must make it worse as you can't have so much room for maneouvre. Why don't you suggest they meet the other side of Prince St, in front of those yellowy brick houses? I think that's also part of the cycle path but there's more room, fewer tourists, still a harbour view and no rails.

The reason they meet there is the Brunnel's buttery rock cakes! I don't mind going there but I walk the raily bit and if I led a ride from there would insist everyone did the same I think. I really hate watching people crash  :hand:
Hmm... I'm not even that keen on rock cakes.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

A V Lowe

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2011, 12:40:33 pm »
Blonde came down on a wet level crossing (rails oblique to road) when we were on the (C+/ACF) Torridon YH Weekend a few years back

That'll be Garve LC I'd guess - one of the first rubber panel jobs and installed when the Bridge was removed (unusually replacing a bridge with a level crossing.  It does have Diagram 951 signs and possibly a TRO banning cycling, and a good case to demand that a 'road fit for purpose' is provided, so that all traffic an use it safely in the normal manner of driving & cycling - Statutory duty on Roads Authority.  Early rubber units moved around under heavy oblique loading from HGV's with fish &c coming down from West Coast and negotiating reverse curve to cross over rail line, often popping a panel. 

No, not Garve, I know that one well as I use the Ullapool - Inverness road a lot. It was on the Lochcarron-Achnasheen Road (had to look at a map to remind me)

There's also a cattle grid on the Isle of Lewis Grimsiader-Crossbost road, that you have to approach at an angle. It's made from wide, smooth  bars. It's lethal when wet, so far I haven't been aware of anyone coming a cropper

Ah Balmacra - not many LX after Dingwall - which has 3

I used to look after the power supplies to these back in the early 1980's.  The fact that tarmac doesn't stick well to rails, and the flangeway needs to be formed by using check-rail chairs and the wide gap this delivers all add to the potential for a fall - Cattle grids on the approach are a 'nice' enhancement too.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2011, 01:40:09 pm »
I saw two cyclists come down at Leeming Bar in 1995. The crossing was wet. The rails are oblique to the road. One rider went to hosptal.

That sounds like the ironically named Aiskew - on A684 about 1K West of old A1 Leeming Bar Services on way to Bedale.  Rail operator is Wensleydale Railway. In Feb 2007 a local teacher died after falling - several hours later and a 28 day improvement notice was served.  The rubber panels were fettled to make some improvement and a plan to replace these with tarmac initiated.  However at least 2 other cyclists fell and broke bones before the work was carried out in June that year, including the brother of a well known cycling journalist.  One of those cyclists was adamant that he had crossed the rails square and fallen 'on the black bit' The crossing is still a serious hazard for cyclists and when I was last looking at it (driving North on A1) I stopped and corked the traffic behind to let a club ride use the full width of the road (and took a picture of them doing this).  I wonder which club that was?  Bedale LC is also one to watch - I'm advised that the damage is in part due to the construction traffic from the A1 works knocking the pan out of the rubber units, although the detail of getting the supporting system set up exactly right and other factors may influence the rate of wear/attrition.  On my last visit some of the panels at Bedale has split and were 'pumping' up & down even under light vehicles.

That fits. I recall the rubber panels. This was a PBP qualifier and Leeming Bar Services were a control point.
I'm sorry to hear a cyclist has died as a result of falling there, though not altogether surprised. The victims of these incidents were experienced, sensible chaps. (One runs the London School of Cycling!)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2011, 01:51:05 pm »
There is an epically stupid dock side shared use cycle path in central Bristol sometimes used by the CTC as a ride meeting place (called Brunnels Buttery) where there are sunken tram/train lines criss crossing all over the place.

I know the one.  Seriously not fun if you're riding in any kind of group or having to dodge pedestrians.  Especially on silly-shaped bikes.

I didn't realise the lines were still in use.  Maybe they could put boards over them entirely except when needed or something?
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2011, 05:27:48 pm »
I don't think boards would work there as a) it is only the train-wheel space that is sunk below surface level, so you'd need something like a very long rubber snakey thing - boards would end up moving, b) I think the whole area is some kind of industrial heritage conservation area. What might work would be to paint lines and designate one section as cycles only - but we know how well that kind of idea usually works. So I don't have a solution, except that I think the problem only really appears in a group or when there are loads of people wandering about.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2011, 12:12:04 pm »
The arrangement described is also used on Tooting Bec cycle path and always a nightmare on wet autumn days when the bike can easily wash out from under you as you turn onto the path from the road.

It will also be used extensively in the new street layout for South Kensington's museums district in Exhibition Road.

A V Lowe

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2011, 03:32:05 pm »
The arrangement described is also used on Tooting Bec cycle path and always a nightmare on wet autumn days when the bike can easily wash out from under you as you turn onto the path from the road.

It will also be used extensively in the new street layout for South Kensington's museums district in Exhibition Road.

To avoid confusion I think I'll begin a thread on tactile paving... Check the Tooting profiles and locations - if wrong profile, a strong case to go for claims, if placed on bend or close to bend also a case but less so. 

NB around a third of A&E cycling crash presentations are from transfer/interface road to path incidents.

A V Lowe

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2011, 03:48:03 pm »
I don't think boards would work there as a) it is only the train-wheel space that is sunk below surface level, so you'd need something like a very long rubber snakey thing - boards would end up moving, b) I think the whole area is some kind of industrial heritage conservation area. What might work would be to paint lines and designate one section as cycles only - but we know how well that kind of idea usually works. So I don't have a solution, except that I think the problem only really appears in a group or when there are loads of people wandering about.

For the speeds and amount of traffic the rubber hose solution might work. It was used on the OMNI rubber panels in 1990's but heavy traffic chews up the hose.  Also a poured polymer infill from Szarka Rubber - fills gap but compresses under the point load of a rail wheel.  Both far from perfect.  best solution to date that appears to work (eg Kattwyck rail & road bridge in Hamburg) is VeloStrail crossing panel unit with renewable panel that compresses under rail wheels - estimated to last 1m to 2m axle passes.  Not passed in UK for most main line railway speeds. 

A V Lowe

Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2011, 03:50:17 pm »
I saw two cyclists come down at Leeming Bar in 1995. The crossing was wet. The rails are oblique to the road. One rider went to hosptal.

That sounds like the ironically named Aiskew - on A684 about 1K West of old A1 Leeming Bar Services on way to Bedale.  Rail operator is Wensleydale Railway. In Feb 2007 a local teacher died after falling - several hours later and a 28 day improvement notice was served.  The rubber panels were fettled to make some improvement and a plan to replace these with tarmac initiated.  However at least 2 other cyclists fell and broke bones before the work was carried out in June that year, including the brother of a well known cycling journalist.  One of those cyclists was adamant that he had crossed the rails square and fallen 'on the black bit' The crossing is still a serious hazard for cyclists and when I was last looking at it (driving North on A1) I stopped and corked the traffic behind to let a club ride use the full width of the road (and took a picture of them doing this).  I wonder which club that was?  Bedale LC is also one to watch - I'm advised that the damage is in part due to the construction traffic from the A1 works knocking the pan out of the rubber units, although the detail of getting the supporting system set up exactly right and other factors may influence the rate of wear/attrition.  On my last visit some of the panels at Bedale has split and were 'pumping' up & down even under light vehicles.

That fits. I recall the rubber panels. This was a PBP qualifier and Leeming Bar Services were a control point.
I'm sorry to hear a cyclist has died as a result of falling there, though not altogether surprised. The victims of these incidents were experienced, sensible chaps. (One runs the London School of Cycling!)

If Patrick wants pictures I have some of the various states of the surface.  Would be helpful if anyone passing that way monitors the state of the surface from time to time. 

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Vertical discrepancies
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2011, 04:16:24 pm »
I'm not in touch with Patrick and it's a long time ago. He was not the one who ended up in hospital. The other chap is of this parish and has not commented.