Wednesday 24 Feb 2010


Region & Route:
Southern: Wessex
| Southern

Network Rail has targeted the level crossing at West Worthing with a campaign to warn residents about the dangers of ignoring warning signs, lights and barriers at level crossings.  The initiative coincides with CCTV footage being released of a car swerving around the barriers as they were being lowered, needlessly risking the safety of the occupants and the people on the approaching train.

Ellie Reilly, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “Swerving around barriers and ignoring warning lights and signs is something we see all too often.   We’re here today to highlight the often tragic consequences which could happen to anybody who takes risks at level crossings.  By understanding the consequences, we hope those people who currently misuse the level crossing will act more responsibly.

“West Worthing is very busy level crossing.  The ever increasing demand for train travel means that at peak times there can be up to 14 trains per hour passing through. This, together with more and more cars on the roads can lead to more pressure on traffic in the area.  We understand that motorists may get frustrated having to wait at the level crossing, but this does not excuse breaking the law and risking their lives and the safety of people on the trains.”

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 was organised by Network Rail’s dedicated community safety team, in partnership with the British Transport Police (BTP) and Southern Railway.

During the afternoon the team monitored the crossing, spoke with motorists and pedestrians about misuse and offered advice and information on how to stay safe on the railway. Leaflets were also handed out that spell out the chilling truth that taking a chance at a level crossing might be the last thing you do, and pose the question: ‘Would it kill you to wait?’.  Of particular concern to the team were the number of motorists who were stopping on the yellow box junction on the level crossing.

Inspector Gary Ancell of British Transport Police said: “Some people are prepared to put their life and the safety of other innocent people at risk just to save time at level crossings. The majority of drivers and pedestrians respect the warning lights and barriers at level crossings but a small minority are still prepared to run the risk to shave a few of minutes off their journey time. This sort of impatience is very dangerous and we are working closely with Network Rail and other partners in the rail industry to address the problem.”

Notes to editors

A total of 208 trains pass through West Worthing level crossing on weekdays.  This equates to up to 14 trains per hour between 07.00 and 08.00, and up to 12 trains per hour during the rest of the day.

In 2008, over 55 days of delays to trains and passengers were caused by level crossing misuse, costing Network Rail around £1.8million – 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.

- 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.

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