Warning over level crossing risks

An advert showing the dangers of not paying attention at level crossings is being launched today. Network Rail has a £130m investment programme to improve level crossing safety.

Teenager seriously hurt after horror crash with train

The crumpled remains of the car
The 4x4 Mitsubishi Shogun was completely mangled in yesterday's crash. Credit: Solway Press Services

A teenage driver has been airlifted to hospital with very serious injuries following a horrendous collision with a train near Stranraer in south west Scotland.

The 18-year-old's 4x4 Mitsubishi Shogun was left a crumpled wreck on the track following yesterday's crash at a level crossing. ITV News Border has the full story.

The collision came as Network Rail confirmed it is investing £130m to improve level crossing safety as the operator launched a new campaign warning drivers of the dangers at rail barriers.

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Network Rail to invest £130m in safer level crossings

Network Rail has a £130m investment programme to improve level crossing safety. The programme includes:

  • A closure programme which will see 750 crossings removed from the network by April 2014. More than 600 have already been closed.
  • Replacing footpath crossings with footbridges.
  • Installing warning lights as an additional safety measure at footpath crossings.
  • A new schools programme - Rail Life - teaching both primary and secondary school children about how to stay safe when crossing the railway.
  • Rolling out 10 more camera enforcement vans.
  • Investing in new technology including obstacle detection lasers.
  • Introducing new cost effective barriers to open crossings.
  • Employing more than 100 new dedicated level crossing managers
  • Community safety managers who work closely with local groups, councils and schools to raise awareness.

Level crossings pose 'significant risk to pedestrians'

While fatalities at level crossings are at a low, there have been more pedestrians than motorists killed at crossings in recent years, and so we wanted to focus our campaign to connect with this audience.

We know that it's easy to get distracted or, given the sleepy, rural surroundings, not realise the risk at a crossing, but just as motorways cut through the countryside, so do railways.

– Martin Gallagher, head of level crossings for NR

Britain's level crossings, although among the safest in Europe, pose the most significant rail safety risk to the public.

ORR wants the rail industry to close level crossings, but where this is impracticable is pushing the industry to deliver innovative solutions such as the development of new technology to make crossings safe for all users.

– Ian Prosser, director of rail safety at the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR)

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Types of level crossings for pedestrians

Level crossings take many forms depending on whether they are on a public or private road, or for vehicle, horse or pedestrian use.

The protection arrangements vary depending on the crossing location Credit: David Davies/PA Archive

Gated crossings operated by railway staff is protected by gates, on both sides of the railway, which complete the fencing of the railway when closed across the road or the railway.

Barrier crossings operated by railway staff is protected by road traffic light signals and lifting barriers on both sides of the railway.

Barrier crossings with obstacle detection is protected by road traffic light signals and lifting barriers on each side of the railway.

Automatic half barrier crossings is protected by road traffic light signals and a lifting barrier on both sides of the railway.

Automatic barrier crossings, locally monitored appears, to the road user, to be similar to an automatic half barrier crossing. It is protected by road traffic light signals and a single lifting barrier on both sides of the railway.

Open crossings does not have barriers or road traffic light signals. Only road traffic signs are provided. Road users must give way to trains at the crossing.

Footpath and bridleway crossings is found where the railway crosses a footpath or bridleway.

Foot crossings at stations is found between platforms at stations and may be the only route between platforms or the only practicable route for people who cannot use steps.

Level crossing statistics

  • Since 1 April 2012 there have been five fatalities at level crossings.
  • Two pedestrians and one cyclist have lost their lives at footpath crossings.
  • Motorists were killed at an automatic half barrier crossing and a user-worked crossing with telephone.
  • More people are killed at footpath crossings than any other type of crossing.
  • Since 2007 there have been 24 fatalities at footpath crossings with 46 in total.

New campaign to highlight dangers of rail crossings

A stark television advert showing the dangers of not paying attention at level crossings is being launched today by Network Rail.

The shocking advert wants to highlight the dangers of level crossings Credit: Network Rail

The advert shows a family playing I Spy in the countryside, with the daughter suddenly realising she is on the tracks with a train bearing down on her.

Network Rail hopes the message "See track, think train" will make people aware that despite being in a quiet, rural setting, paying attention to warning signs can save lives.

More people are killed at footpath crossings than any other type of crossing. NR is spending £130 million on an investment to improve level crossing safety.