Mother leads level crossing safety event in Elsenham as shocking new CCTV footage released: From left to right - Julian Gardiner, British Transport Police officer; Andrew Waling, Network Rail level crossing manager; Tina Hughes, Olivia's mother; Suzanne Renton, head of safety for Network Rail Anglia

Friday 16 Jun 2023

Mother leads level crossing safety event in Elsenham as shocking new CCTV footage released

Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia

Network Rail held a safety event on Thursday 15 June alongside Tina Hughes, whose daughter Olivia tragically lost her life at Elsenham level crossing in 2005.

Tina has worked with Network Rail for many years, with the deaths of Olivia and her friend Charlotte leading to a transformation in the railway’s approach to level crossing safety.

At the event, on International Level Crossing Awareness Day, Network Rail colleagues joined Tina to talk to the public about crossing the railway safely. There were also similar events at other level crossings around the Anglia region.

There have been 20 accidental fatalities at level crossings around the country since April 2019, with six of them in Anglia. Across the Anglia region, there have already been 42 near-misses in 2023.

On the same day as the awareness event, Network Rail released shocking new CCTV footage of a near-miss at Elsenham level crossing in April 2023. It shows two passengers taking a huge risk which very nearly cost them their lives.

In light of the footage, Tina said: “I was shocked when I saw the video but I hope it will help to prevent others gambling with their lives in future. After all the improvements that have been made to this level crossing and so many others after Olivia and Charlotte’s deaths, it is hard to believe that people would ignore the safety measures and warnings. I urge everyone to read instructions carefully and always respect locked gates, barriers, lights and alarms.”

Suzanne Renton, Network Rail Anglia’s head of safety, said: “Our teams across Anglia were out and about yesterday speaking with passengers and members of the public about sticking to the rules on level crossings. The women in the CCTV video came to no harm thankfully, but it clearly shows how taking a risk on the railway could easily end in death or serious injury.”

Following Olivia and Charlotte’s deaths in 2005, Network Rail appointed more than 100 level crossing managers to manage and improve the safety of crossings, while physical improvements have included the installation of full barriers, red and green lights, brighter lights and audible warnings. In addition, a large closure programme has resulted in over 1,300 crossings being closed.

At Elsenham level crossing, a footbridge has been built, the gates are now locked shut when a train is coming and there are ticket machines on both platforms.

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Richard Cooper
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