New warning system helps make level crossings safer for people in Kent and Sussex: Covtec in use at Ham Shades Lane in Whitstable

Thursday 20 Apr 2017

New warning system helps make level crossings safer for people in Kent and Sussex

South East

Four footpath level crossings in Kent and three in Sussex are now safer thanks to a new audible warning device which alerts pedestrians of approaching trains.

The crossings are among thirteen in the South East to have the kit installed in the last twelve months as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a safer and more reliable railway.

Covtec in use

In Kent, system has been newly-installed at footpath level crossings in Tankerton, Lenham, Whitstable and Aylesford where the user is required to stop, look and listen for a train before crossing. 

In Sussex, the system has been installed at footpath level crossings in Pulborough and Rustington in West Susssex and Rye in East Sussex.

Each solar-powered unit reproduces the sound of a train horn and is triggered automatically as a train approaches, providing a secondary warning in the event that a crossing user does not hear the train horn.

John Halsall, South East route managing director at Network Rail, said: “Level crossings remain the biggest source of risk on the rail network. We want everyone who lives or works near the railway to be safe, which is why we’re investing in a variety of projects to improve level crossing safety as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.

“This involves major investments such as new footbridges as well as a range of smaller yet effective improvements such as new technology which also help usn reduce risk and save lives.”

Paul Coleman, South East route level crossing manager at Network Rail, said: “These new audible warning units are solar powered and don’t require a lot of maintenance, so they’re a practical and efficient way to improve safety at footpath level crossings. We have now installed a total of thirteen of these devices across the South East, with plans for more to come.”

Contact information

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

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Chris Denham
Media relations manager (South East route)
020 3357 7969
07515 626530

About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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