In the early-1970s the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (WMPTE) gained responsibility for managing and planning the local railway network in the West Midlands, and they set about looking for ways it could be improved: The WMPTE Passenger Transport Plan of 1972 recognised the need for a cross-city rail service, and especially an improved service to the south of Birmingham with new stations to serve the growth areas in the south of the city.
On the south side of the city, the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway had opened in 1841, linking to Curzon Street via the Camp Hill Line. The branch line from Barnt Green to Redditch followed in 1859. The Birmingham West Suburban Railway, taking the route of the Cross-City Line between Kings Norton and Birmingham New Street, opened in 1876.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: These state-of-the-art trains will make a real difference to commuters on the Cross-City Line, not only with their modern new features but by adding extra capacity onto a line that has been a victim of its own success. These electric trains are an even greener alternative to the car and are key in the fight against air pollution and climate change.
Testimony for the plaintiff tended to show that a pick-up truck of which the plaintiff was the driver was in collision with a passenger train of the railroad company on March 10, 1953. It was daylight and the weather was clear. The collision occurred within the city limits of Cullman, Alabama, at the point at which 8th Avenue, a paved street, which running slightly south and northwest, crosses the tracks of the railroad company, which run north and south diagonally at grade. There are five tracks in all designated, respectively, from east to west as follows: (1) the east hill track, (2) the north-bound main, (3) the passing track, (4) the south-bound main and (5) the storage track. 8th Avenue is about 40 feet wide where it crosses the tracks and is generally level over the entire crossing but rises slightly just east of the easternmost rail of the hill track. The width of each track from rail to rail is 4 feet 8 inches. The distance from the easternmost rail of the hill track to the corresponding rail of the next or north bound main is 26 feet, 7 inches. The remaining tracks are spaced so that the west rail of each is approximately 10 feet from the east rail of the next. The total distance from the east rail of the "hill track" to the point of collision was approximately 54 feet. An Alabama Stop Sign was situated about 19 feet east of the east rail of the "hill track" on the southerly side of 8th Avenue. A white cross-buck sign was situated near the west rail of the "storage track" on the southerly side of 8th Avenue. There were no buildings or other natural obstructions to obscure the view from a point east of the rail of the hill track, northward along the railroad tracks, which were straight for more than 600 feet north of the crossing. Approximately 1,500 feet south of the 8th Avenue crossing was the Cullman Railroad Station at which a north-bound train was standing on the "north-bound main track." About 700 feet south of the crossing a switch engine was engaged in placing cars on the "hill track." A stationary cut or string of four or five cars was on the "passing track" north of the 8th Avenue crossing. According to the tendencies of the evidence, the southernmost of these standing cars was about 100 feet north of the crossing.
An unpaved street, called Main Street, was east of the tracks. This street ran northeasterly roughly parallel with the tracks north of the crossing to and beyond a Standard Oil Company plant and entered 8th Avenue from a northerly direction at a point about 12 or 15 feet east of the east rail of the "hill track." The plaintiff had been up Main Street to the Standard Oil Plant and had secured a drum of gasoline in his pick-up truck. He had then proceeded southwesterly along Main Street to or near the point at which the latter ran into 8th Avenue, where he stopped. The truck was then facing generally in a southwesterly direction. The truck was next *291 seen by plaintiff's witness Duke, who was at a warehouse just east of the railroad tracks and about a block and a half south of the crossing. It was then moving westerly across the series of tracks at about 10 or 15 miles per hour, according to Duke, and was on track 2, the north-bound main track.
A Cullman city ordinance fixed a speed limit of 20 miles per hour on trains crossing any public crossing in the city limits. The limits of the city had been extended prior to 1948 but no signs along the railroad tracks indicated the limits of the city. 781b155fdc