Friday 23 Jul 2004

DRIVERS WARNED OF THE DANGERS OF LEVEL CROSSINGS

Region & Route:
Wales
Western
Wales and Western
With the start of the school holidays and the tourist season about to reach its peak, Network Rail is launching a level crossing campaign across Cornwall at Camborne Level Crossing to warn residents and holidaymakers about the dangers of level crossing misuse. In the year to date, there have been two level crossing incidents in Cornwall, both involving actual collisions (see editors’ notes).  The Newquay to Par line is a particular ‘hotspot’ as the number of daily trains running along the line doubles during the summer months. Local MP Candy Atherton, representatives from Network Rail, the British Transport Police and representative Wessex Trains launched the campaign in Camborne today.  Leaflets reminding motorists of their legal responsibilities and highlighting the dangers of driver misuse were handed out at Camborne level crossing. Network Rail General Manager for the West Country, Andy Hancock, said: “Level crossings are safe for both road and rail users if they are used properly.  Nearly a third of all train collisions in the UK are caused by motorists on level crossings, and the risk of fatality in a train/road vehicle collision is about 40 to 45 times greater than a conventional road traffic accident. - more - Cornwall - 2 “As the amount of holiday traffic in the region increases over the summer months, motorists and pedestrians need to be vigilant when using level crossings.  Parents should also stress to their children not only the dangers of playing in and around level crossings, but also on the railway, especially if you live near one or use a level crossing regularly.” The rail industry continuously ensures that railway level crossings are as safe as possible by installing safety features such as traffic signals, barriers and safe working practices.   Here are a few simple rules motorists can follow to ensure their safety and that of others: ·        Do not cross if the red lights show, an alarm is sounding or the barriers are being lowered.  The tone of the alarm will change if another train is approaching.  If there are no lights, alarms or barriers, stop, look both ways and listen before crossing. ·        Read the signs and obey the road traffic signals ·        Do not speed up when you see the lights changing, approach a level crossing at a moderate speed ·        Never try to beat the train over the crossing ·        Never drive onto a level crossing unless your exit is clear ·        Never stop on or immediately beyond a level crossing ·        Keep going if you have already crossed the white line when the amber light comes on Clive Davies of the British Transport Police, said: “I strongly urge drivers who use level crossings to seriously consider the consequences of running the lights, before a serious accident occurs.  They are not only risking their own life, but also those of their passengers and hundreds of rail passengers. “The consequences can be harsh if a level crossing is misused. As trains are not able to stop quickly, you could face serious injury or death.  You may also face prosecution as it is an offence to cross a level crossing when the light shows red.” -more-  Cornwall - 3 It is not just motorists who are at risk from level crossing misuse, but also pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.  There are additional rules that apply to these users: ·        Everyone must obey the road lights ·        An additional warning in the form of an audible alarm is provided ·        The alarm starts when the amber light shows and continues until it is safe to cross the line ·        If you have children with you, ensure they remain behind the stop line until it is safe to cross ·        If you are already on the crossing when the alarm sounds – keep going – you will have time to cross

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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