Monday 24 May 2010

NETWORK RAIL ASKS TRURO ‘WOULD IT KILL YOU TO WAIT?

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western

Network Rail is targeting a level crossing hotspot at Truro on 25 to 26 May to warn users of the dangers of ignoring warning signs at level crossings.

The level crossing is among the busiest in Cornwall and has a high record of misuse, with more than 30 incidents over the last three years.  The record of misuse could be higher as many of the incidents are not reported.

Liz Heading, community safety manager, Network Rail, said: “Jumping the barriers and ignoring warning signs is sadly a sight we see all too often, and in many cases with tragic outcomes. Level crossings are safe, but if misused, they all pose very real risks. We’re driving home the message that running the risk at a level crossing is just not worth it. By trying to save a few seconds, you could end up losing your life.”

Chief inspector Paul Richards, British Transport Police (BTP), sector commander for the South West of England, said: “Safety at level crossings is of paramount importance and we are working extremely closely with Network Rail and our other partners to make motorists and members of the public fully aware of the dangers on misusing crossings.  In BTP’s 2010-11 policing plan, the Force has identified a number of level crossings in the South West, one of which is at Truro, where we will work together with Network Rail to reduce the level of misuse.”

A spokesperson from First Great Western added: "It is important that the dangers of level crossings misuse are highlighted. A little patience can make a big difference and we are only to happy to support Network Rail at this week's event."

The awareness event forms part of Network Rail’s ongoing Don’t Run the Risk campaign, which aims to educate members of the public about the dangers of level crossing misuse. 

It is led by Network Rail, in partnership with the British Transport Police, First Great Western and the Office of Rail Regulation.

Throughout the day the team will monitor the crossing and speak to pedestrians and drivers about misuse, offering advice and information on how to stay safe on the railway.

They will also be handing out leaflets that spell out the chilling truth of taking chances at level crossings, and pose the question: ‘Would it kill you to wait?’.

Notes to editors

Network Rail's hard-hitting level crossing safety campaign 'Don’t Run the Risk' is beginning to have an impact on people’s behaviour, according to research conducted for the company by Millward Brown.

An online survey in spring 2009 found:

Before the recent advertising campaign (November 2008-February 2009) 55% said they understood what not to do at level crossings, post the campaign this rose to 67%.

 54% of people said that the advert had already influenced their behaviour at level crossings.

 67% said that it would influence their behaviour at level crossings in the future. 

In 2008, over 55 days of delays to trains and passengers were caused by level crossing misuse, costing Network Rail around £1.8m – money that could have been invested in the railway. The real cost to the industry far exceeds this, as it does not include actual damage to trains or tracks or staffing time and cost.

FACTS ABOUT LEVEL CROSSINGS - Level crossings are safe if used correctly - 95% of accidents at level crossings are caused by misuse or error– i.e. drivers ignoring red signals, barriers and klaxons - There are over 7,600 level crossings both on public and private land that cut across the UK railway network.

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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.

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.

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