Monday 26 Feb 2018
Two near misses in two weeks prompts level crossing safety push
- London North Western
St Albans residents are being urged to stay safe near the railway after two people in two weeks narrowly avoided death or serious injury on the same level crossing.
The incidents occurred on Cotton Mill Lane footpath level crossing, between St Albans Abbey and Park Street stations, on 25 January and 5 February – prompting Network Rail to undertake a week of safety and awareness raising at the crossing.
The near misses follow two previous covert surveys which recorded 787 separate incidents of deliberate misuse and accidental user behaviour between 25 July and 2 August 2015 and 1 July to 9 July 2017.
Incidents included young children playing on the crossing and adults not paying attention when using it by wearing headphones, looking at their mobile phones or crossing with dogs not on leads.
In light of the findings, Network Rail is undertaking a week of action at the crossing (26 February - 2 March) to speak with users and remind them of the importance of level crossing safety.
Priti Patel, head of safety for Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “The two recent near misses between people and trains, combined with the worrying high number of incidents of deliberate misuse and accidental user behaviour, has prompted us to take action to remind people of the need to always use crossings correctly.
“We want to remind everyone of the significant risk to people’s lives if they don’t. Our advice is simple: never take a chance on a level crossing and always use it correctly.”
Following previous incidents at the crossing, Network Rail has installed lighting, clear markings, new signs and a yellow walkway across the railway and removed vegetation to improve visibility to help people use the crossing correctly.
The busy Cotton Mill Lane crossing is close to schools, a supermarket, a leisure centre and a retail park, and is used by around 800 pedestrians and 200 cyclists every day.
For more information on the safe use of level crossings visit www.networkrail.co.uk/level-crossings.
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.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 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.