Network Rail issues warning after hundreds of incidents at level crossings across Anglia: Anglia level crossing

Thursday 10 Jun 2021

Network Rail issues warning after hundreds of incidents at level crossings across Anglia

Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia

Network Rail is issuing a warning on International Level Crossings Awareness Day to remind people to use level crossings safely as new figures show that 81 incidents have already occurred in the Anglia region since the start of the year.

Thursday 10 June marks International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) which is a worldwide initiative to improve awareness of level crossing safety. Network Rail is using this day to highlight the dangers of distraction and deliberate misuse of level crossings.

From April 2020 to April 2021, 306 incidents occurred at level crossings through misuse, and since 1 January this year 81 incidents have already been reported by train drivers across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire areas. These include:

  • On 9 February a man ducked under the lowered barriers at Darsham level crossing in Suffolk to run and get in a taxi the other side
  • On 15 February two young girls were taking photos on Weatherby level crossing in Newmarket, Suffolk
  • On 19 March a group of youths were playing with the barriers at Chesterton level crossing in Cambridgeshire
  • On 24 March, two people with dogs were having a conversation on Common Lane North level crossing in Beccles, Suffolk
  • On 31 March a person jumped over the barriers to cross in front of an approaching train at Windmill Lane level crossing in Broxbourne just as the Liverpool Street to Hertford East service was approaching
  • On 4 April two youths jumped over the barriers to cross in front of an approaching train at Roydon station in Essex.

An increasing number of studies have shown that many incidents also occur because of inattention which can happen when a person is distracted. This could be as simple as looking at a mobile phone, listening to music or chatting to a friend, which can distract from even the most unexpected or unusual objects around them. This could be fatal in the railway environment. 

Network Rail’s campaign, Beware the Bubble, aims to combat this distraction by encouraging people to be more present and mindful of their surroundings when using the railway.

Nathan Williams-Johnson, Network Rail’s community safety manager for Anglia, said: “To know that we are approaching 100 incidents on level crossings this year already is truly shocking.

“Trains can’t swerve out of the way and they can’t immediately stop, even when the emergency brake is applied. The impact on a train driver having to make decisions in these situations should not be underestimated.

“I want to urge everyone to be aware of their surroundings and use level crossings safely. This is not the place to stop for a chat or take photos and no one should cross when the barriers and warning lights are telling you not to. The consequences can be devastating and will affect everyone.”

Matt Wakefield, Greater Anglia’s Head of Safety, Security and Sustainability, said: “Everyone should take care and avoid distractions while using level crossings. People are risking their lives, and the lives of others, when they do not use level crossings properly.

“The impact of near-misses should not be underestimated; it can be extremely distressing and traumatic for the train driver.

“Anyone who witnesses a level crossing being misused should contact British Transport Police or Network Rail immediately.”

More information about how to use level crossings safely is available on our safety pages.

Read more information about ILCAD on their website.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Journalists
Network Rail press office - Katie Mack
Media relations manager (Anglia route)
020 3356 2515
Katie.Mack@networkrail.co.uk

About Network Rail

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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