Footage Shows Motorists And Pedestrians Risking Lives
Network Rail has revealed that motorists and pedestrians are continuing to risk lives at level crossings. Many, therefore, ignore the flashing warning lights/sirens and charge through at the last moment. These acts threaten the perpetrators' lives and those on the trains. Closed circuit television has recently recorded several particularly alarming incidents. One involved a motorist that overtook a vehicle at speed - on a blind bend - then raced through a crossing as the barrier started to fall. Another showed a tipper truck jumping the lights then narrowly missing the barrier that was inches from striking its top. There is also footage of a man running through a crossing while pushing a baby buggy. He had to duck to avoid being struck by a barrier that was moving towards his head. Such footage only represents a small fraction of the incidents that occur everyday.
Network Rail Reduces The Number Of Level Crossings
Network Rail recognises that level crossings are not necessarily the safest way to help motorists and pedestrians cross railways. As such, four years ago it set a target to reduce their numbers by ten percent - from seven hundred and fifty - by 2014. This objective was met with the closure of the crossing on the East Coast Main Line in Cambridgeshire. The total number of crossings has now fallen by ninety-four on the Anglia route that serves Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, the North Thames Estuary and coastal regions. Network Rail has estimated that this has reduced the risk crossings pose to the network by twenty-five percent. Furthermore, there has been work to improve the safety of the crossings that cannot be replaced. Enhancements include new warning lights, obstacle detection radar and voice warnings that emphasise 'another train is coming'. The railway operator now plans to further reduce the number of level crossings.
Railway Boss Discusses Level Crossings
Robin Gisby, Managing Director of Network Operations for Network Rail, said: 'Reaching our target to close seven hundred and fifty crossings in four years is good news for Network Rail, train operators and of course the public - but we cannot be complacent. There is much more we can do to make the level crossings that remain safer and we will continue to introduce new technology, upgrade crossings to include lights or barriers where appropriate and work with schools, communities and other organisations to spread awareness of our safety message.' He concluded: 'We've pledged to close a further five-hundred crossings in the next five years. Successfully closing a crossing isn't always a straightforward process, so we will need the support from local authorities, landowners and the public to help us achieve our new target and improve safety further'.