Level crossing safety plea after train’s near miss with jogger: Ridgeway level crossing composite

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Level crossing safety plea after train’s near miss with jogger

Region & Route:
North West & Central
| North West & Central: Central

A safety video has been launched to remind level crossing users to always stop, look and listen after a jogger wearing headphones came within seconds of being hit by a train.

Network Rail today (Wednesday 12 May) released the reminder to walkers and joggers about the dangers of crossing the railway - particularly in rural areas.

It’s after a shocking near miss at Ridgeway Path level crossing in Princes Risborough last November.

The crossing is located on the Chiltern main line. It is used by freight services as well as high speed trains travelling between Birmingham and London.

The jogger failed to remove their earphones before running across the track - forcing a Chiltern Railways train to apply its emergency brakes.

The careless runner was approximately five seconds from being hit by the London to Oxford service.

Rhys Evans, level crossing manager at Network Rail, said: “We want this new video to illustrate how to use level crossings properly, and the risks you take if you don’t. No matter how well you think you know a crossing, all users must stop, look and listen every single time they cross the railway.

“It would be easy to believe that level crossings in more rural areas would be less dangerous, but all crossings must be approached with the same caution, especially as we look to enjoy our countryside trails and crossings more often as summer approaches.”

Ian Hyde, engineering and safety director at Chiltern Railways, said: “Trains run frequently on the Chiltern network and the safe use of level crossings is critical to protect pedestrians who need to cross the railway as well as customers onboard our trains. Near-misses leave drivers feeling very shaken and we would urge people to please respect the railway and when crossing, follow the instructions and remain vigilant at all times. This near miss, but for a few seconds, could have had far worse consequences.”

The new safety video has been launched as summer approaches in partnership with the Ridgeway National Trail.

Hazel Thomas, principal advisor for National Trails at Natural England, said: “The National Trails offer some of the easiest means of accessing the countryside and enjoying the outdoors. As they are long distance trails, they do on occasion need to cross operational railway lines.

We welcome all efforts to ensure users of the trails have a safe and enjoyable experience.”

With bumper numbers expected to staycation this year, it aims to educate level crossing users on how to cross the railway safely – especially if on holiday in unfamiliar areas.

Joanne Taylor, rights of way team leader at Buckinghamshire Council, said: “Buckinghamshire has a fantastic network of over 2000 miles of public rights of way across some of the most beautiful parts of the county.

“While we encourage people to make full use of our paths for exercise and recreation, please be extra alert where they cross railway lines, roads or other obstacles.

“Thankfully no one was injured in this particular case, however just taking that bit of extra care will mean everyone can enjoy walking and exploring safely.”

For more information and resources on how to use all types of level crossings safely, visit the Network Rail website: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/safety-in-the-community/level-crossing-safety/

Notes to Editors

Notes to editors

*Ridgeway level crossing is located on the popular The Ridgeway National Trail.

Popularly known as “Britain’s oldest road”, the trail follows the same route over high ground used since prehistoric times by travellers, herdsmen and soldiers.

How to use level crossings safely as a pedestrian:

  • Concentrate – it’s easy to get distracted, especially by phones, music and conversation.
  • Stop, look and listen. Follow signs and instructions.
  • Check both ways before crossing – if there is a train coming, don’t cross.
  • Understand the warnings (lights, barriers, alarms). Visit level crossings for pedestrians to find out more.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - North West & Central Region
07740 782954

About Network Rail

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.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk