Friday 22 Jan 2021
Network Rail is urging people to stay safe at level crossings after shocking CCTV footage showed a woman laying on railway tracks to pose for photographs
The clip of Tidemills level crossing is the latest in a series of dangerous incidents on the railway, which could have ended with fatal or life-changing consequences.
Tracy Partridge, East Sussex level crossing manager at Network Rail, said: “We are concerned about repeated dangerous behaviour at Tidemills level crossing which follows the near misses which took place last year.
“We cannot stress enough the danger that people are placing themselves in when they don’t use a crossing safely. A split-second decision can have life-changing consequences, not only for those involved, but also for their family and friends, train drivers and railway workers.
“Please, never take chances when using level crossings and if you have any concerns, always contact Network Rail or British Transport Police.”
This is the 17th incident at this crossing in the last 9 months (since 1 April 2020) with 15 recorded near misses. During the whole of 2019 there were only 4 recorded incidents with 3 recorded near misses.
The dangerous behaviour at Tidemills include level crossing users filming the emergency stop of an oncoming train. In another incident, bike users narrowly missed a train while large groups of pedestrians have also experienced close calls by trying to beat approaching trains. Cameras have also captured a funeral procession using the crossing.
Jonathan Pine, British Transport Police Inspector, said:
“This is unthinkably stupid behaviour by two women clearly oblivious to the dangers of level crossings. Trains pass through this line at speeds of up to 70mph, so they could quite easily have been moments away from a catastrophic incident. We’ve seen first-hand the consequences of this sort of recklessness and no photo opportunity is worth risking your life for.”
Local people and visitors will soon enjoy safer access across the railway at Tidemills in the South Downs National Park after Network Rail’s proposals for a stunning new footbridge were granted.
The footbridge, which has been designed to blend with the local landscape and heritage features of the old village of Tidemills, will provide safer access to Seaford beach and the surrounding landscape.
Once the new footbridge is in place, the footpath crossing will permanently close.
Notes to Editors
The level crossing at Tidemills is a Stop, Look and Listen footpath crossing and the advice for using them is:
- Stop, Look and Listen for a train before opening the gate. If there is one coming, then wait until it is has passed
- Once sure the track is clear, open the gate and walk across the track to the other side – without rushing. Make sure the gate is closed behind you
- If crossing in a large group, make sure there is enough time and space for everyone to cross safely. Always keep dogs on a lead when near the railway
Passengers / community members
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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.