Thursday 31 Aug 2017
Level crossing shocker: footage shows children risking their lives in St Albans
- London North Western
A shocking video has been released by Network Rail showing children risking their lives at a St Albans level crossing.
It is hoped that parents who see the footage will speak to their children about level crossing safety before they return to school.
There have been a number of incidents of deliberate misuse recently at Cotton Mill level crossing which sees around 60 trains per day cross it between St Albans Abbey and Watford Junction.
Over 1,000 people per day use the crossing and although Britain’s railways are the safest in Europe, level crossings pose the biggest safety risk to people who come into contact with the rail network.
During nine days of monitoring earlier in the year, four near misses with trains were recorded and there were over 300 incidents of deliberate misuse.
Priti Patel, head of safety for the London North Western route at Network Rail, said: “We are concerned about repeated dangerous behaviour at Cotton Mill Lane level crossing and the number of near misses that have been recorded.
“We cannot stress enough the danger cyclists, pedestrians and motorists are placing themselves in when they don’t use a crossing safely. A split second decision can have life changing consequences, not only for those involved, but also for their family and friends, train drivers and railway workers.
"Please - never take chances when using level crossings and if you have any concerns always contact Network Rail or British Transport Police."
Inspector Becky Warren, British Transport Police (BTP), said: “The children in the CCTV are the lucky ones as they were able to leave the crossing unscathed. Sadly there are people who have not been as fortunate, and I have had the heart breaking job of telling families that their loved one has been killed at crossings or on the tracks.
“Despite our constant warnings about using crossings safely and the dangers of the railway, incredibly some people are still willing to put their lives on the line by ignoring crossing instructions, not looking properly or by trying to dash across crossings when trains are approaching.
"Most accidents are as a result of impatience; not being prepared to wait and trying to beat the train. People risk their lives thinking it won’t happen to me, but it can and it does and it’s simply not worth the risk.”
Network Rail is currently working with the local council to find an alternative to a level crossing at this site and is currently making a series of changes to improve safety. These include moving the whistleboards - which prompt train drivers to sound the horn as a warning - closer to the crossing and making improvements to the crossing surface.
Network Rail and British Transport Police have been at the crossing over the summer months to talk to users about safety at the crossing.
To find out how to stay safe when using level crossings, visit www.networkrail.co.uk/level-crossings
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.