Wednesday 18 Jan 2017
VIDEO: "There's no excuse": Network Rail warns pedestrians not to risk their lives on level crossings
Network Rail and the British Transport Police (BTP) are warning pedestrians not to risk their lives at level crossings after shocking CCTV footage (available for download) emerged of two incidents of dangerous misuse at level crossings over the last month.
The two incidents, in London and Yorkshire, come just weeks after Network Rail and the BTP issued a stark warning about staying safe at level crossings after a man pushing a bicycle was almost killed by a train at Ducketts level crossing in Pudsey, Leeds.
The first incident, which occurred at Grove Park level crossing on the evening of 22 December in Chiswick, west London, shows the barriers coming down while lights flash to warn that a train is approaching. However, once the barriers are down, one pedestrian pushes through the barrier to cross, followed by another shortly after.
The second incident, which happened at around 6:30pm on New Year’s Eve, shows two adults climb over a six-foot-high locked gate at Seamer station, near Scarborough in North Yorkshire before inexplicably passing a toddler over the same gate and running across the tracks in front of a train as it pulls into the station.
The couple, who appear to be running late for the train, are then trapped inside the crossing and repeat the stunt on the opposite gate before running up to the platform – only to miss the train anyway.
Inspector Becky Warren from British Transport Police, said: “Despite our constant warnings about using crossings safely and the dangers of the railway, incredibly some people are still willing to put their lives on the line by ignoring crossing instructions, not looking properly or by trying to dash across crossings when trains are approaching.
“As a police officer, I have had to deliver messages to families that their loved one has been killed by a train at a level crossing. Please, think and never take the risk.”
Commenting on the incident in London, Becky Lumlock, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “There’s no excuse for this kind of reckless behaviour. Trains go over this stretch of line at up to 60 mph, and once the barriers are down that means a train is imminently approaching. A trip or a stumble while trying to run across is all it would take, and the train driver wouldn’t have enough time to stop.
“I’d like to urge anyone who uses level crossings to do so safely, and please don’t ever be tempted to cross when a train is approaching. Please think about your own safety, and the impact that it could have on your families and the train driver. It really isn’t worth the risk.”
Commenting on the incident in Yorkshire, Robert Havercroft, level crossing manager for Network Rail, said: “This incident shows reckless disregard for a level crossing system which is designed purely to keep people safe. In making the mind-blowing decision to not only climb over two sets of high, locked gates these adults have put their lives and the child’s life in extreme danger, apparently for the sake of trying to catch a train.
“They had no way of knowing for certain that the approaching train was stopping at the platform and they were lucky to avoid this becoming the most disastrous way end to the year.”
When using level crossings, Network Rail advises pedestrians to:
- Look both ways and cross only when it is safe to do so.
- Pay attention to barriers and warning lights.
- Don’t use mobile phones while crossing, as these can distract your attention.
- Take out your headphones; trains will often sound their horns to let pedestrians know that they are approaching.
- Walk, don’t run.
As part of its Railway Upgrade Plan, Network Rail is investing £100m to improve the safety of level crossings all around the country, and has closed over 1,000 in recent years.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Grove Park level crossing in London is used by 172 trains per day, travelling at up to 60 mph.
Seamer station level crossing in Yorkshire is used by 675 pedestrians/cyclists daily. Across Yorkshire since 2014 there have been 6,000 reports of deliberate misuse at level crossings, include 50 ‘near misses’ and three fatalities.
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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.