Monday 20 Feb 2006


Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia
| Eastern
Network Rail today issued an urgent safety warning to people using the railway crossing on the High Street in Grays, Thurrock. A footbridge next to the railway crossing has recently been taken out of use for safety reasons after a structural assessment showed weaknesses in its structure.  The temporary closure of the footbridge means that the only way to cross the railway at this location is by using the CCTV-protected level crossing which is commonly misused, says Network Rail. Jon Wiseman, Network Rail Route Director, said: “Unfortunately the crossing at Grays is regularly misused by people who are impatient to get across and jump over the barriers when a train is approaching.  This is extremely dangerous as trains travel very fast and take a long time to brake.  We are urging people to obey the red light and use this crossing correctly for their own safety.” The level crossing at Grays is fitted with CCTV and full barriers which are operately remotely from a signal box at Upminster.  A red light flashes and the barriers are lowered when a train is approaching.  Despite these measures it is misused regularly, including three incidents of ‘near misses’, when an accident was narrowly avoided, in the last year.  For example: ·         10 February 2006 – a man jumped over the lowered barriers and ran across the railway when the red light was flashing ·         9 December 2005 – a train driver reported a ‘near miss’ when a youth ran across the crossing in front of his train when the barriers were down ·         7 November 2005 – several people were reported as trying to ‘beat the barriers’ ·         13 and 19 May 2005 – train drivers reported two separate ‘near misses’ when a woman ran over the crossing in front of their trains when the barriers were down ·          14 April 2005 – a gang of youths lifted the lowered barrier, walked onto the railway line and climbed over the barrier on the other side when a train was approaching Councillor Carl Morris for Grays Riverside Ward, commented: “It’s hard to believe that people are willing to risk life and limb by crossing the railway when a train is approaching, but I witnessed it for myself last week.  While this footbridge is closed, more people will be using the crossing and it is even more important that it’s used properly.  I would like to see adults setting a good example to children and young people by crossing safely and responsibly.” The footbridge is likely to be closed for at least two months for structural repairs.  The precise programme of work is being finalised and is likely to involve substantial replacement of the steel brackets and decking on the bridge which have suffered corrosion over time. Jon Wiseman added: “I would like to thank local people for their patience while the essential footbridge repairs are carried out.  For those who would not usually use the railway crossing, I would also like to stress that it is perfectly safe to cross when the barriers are raised.  Crossing when the barriers are down is dangerous and could lead to criminal prosecution.” As well as misuse of the crossing at Grays, there have been regular reports of damage caused by people hanging onto or kicking the crossing barriers.  This interferes with the sensitive equipment controlling the barriers and often requires costly repairs which also create delays for crossing users.

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 - South East route
020 3357 7969

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.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: