Friday 22 Oct 2004


Region & Route:
| Southern: Wessex
| Southern
Date:                           28 October 2004 Time:                          3pm Location:                    Wareham railway crossing Event:                         Railway and council bosses are campaigning to highlight railway crossing safety Media contact:          Jenny Sacre, Network Rail, 020 7557 8107      A campaign to highlight the correct way to use Wareham railway foot crossing kicks off on 28 October.  Journalists and photographers are invited to join railway representatives and council members at the crossing where they will be raising awareness amongst residents about railway safety. Steve Knight, Network Rail Operations Manager said: “The footpath crossing at Wareham is a well-used link between residential areas and the town.  But, people using the crossing have become complacent and are ignoring the warning signs, lights and audible alarm.  “To date, no one has been injured but train drivers regularly report near misses which could have resulted in injuries or even death.” The crossing is 150 yards east of the station and connects Northport and Bere Road. It has miniature signal lights, which show green when people should cross, and red when they should not.  There is also an audible warning and permanent signs at the crossing reminding people how to use it.   Steve Knight added:  “The crossing is safe if used correctly and our campaign aims to highlight this.” Hilary Cox, Dorset County Council’s cabinet member for environmental services, said: “The crossing was installed by the County Council after an agreement with British Rail in 1988.  If the public continue to misuse the crossing we might be forced to permanently close it, causing inconvenience for all concerned. The only alternative is a nearby footbridge, which would obviously pose considerable difficulties for people with disabilities, the elderly and parents with prams or pushchairs.” As part of the campaign, more than 1,000 safety awareness leaflets are being hand delivered to local homes and nearby commercial units. Posters will also be displayed in council offices, libraries and leisure centres.  Mike Kersley South West Trains’ Head of Safety, said:  “Crossing misuse can be a harrowing ordeal for train drivers and many have had bad experiences at Wareham.  The rules are clear cut – when the lights are red – don’t cross.” Since 2001, nine near misses have been reported including cyclists, the elderly, dog walkers and women and children. 

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