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Railhub Archive
1997-08-06 RTK-002
Railtrack plc


Level crossing users put their safety at risk

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Railtrack plc

Level crossing users put their safety at risk

6 August 1997
source Railtrack plc
type Press release

West Country motorists and pedestrians are putting their safety at risk by misusing level crossings in the South West, Railtrack warned today.

Since April 1996 - 1997 there have been 44 near misses reported at 28 crossings in the two counties. Railtrack is concerned with the level of incidents and has issued a fresh safety reminder to the public.

'Level crossings are safe if used correctly,' said Tim Maddocks, Railtrack Area Production Manager, 'Unfortunately people take their lives in their hands by ignoring the warning lights.'

Some of the worst blackspots are on the Newquay and Looe branch lines where there are many automatic open crossings with road warning lights.

Thousands of tourists visit seaside towns along these routes and although not familiar with these crossings should know the correct procedure from the highway code. Cases have been reported of people walking or driving not realising a train is approaching.

Local road users and pedestrians also put their safety at risk by deliberately ignoring warning signs and traffic lights and cross in front of on-coming trains.

'Over the past year there have been a number of near misses reported by train drivers which have caused Railtrack and South Wales and West train company concern. Warning lights are on level crossings for a reason but people tend to beat the lights before the train has passed,' said Tim.

South Wales and West Trains Manager Phil Bounden added: 'Trains can take up to a mile to stop. If motorists or pedestrians decide to cross in front of us there is nothing we can do - we cannot swerve like cars.'

British Transport Police have also backed Railtrack with its safety reminder.

'Level crossings are safe if people use them correctly - but people must obey the rules. We have issued this reminder before an accident happens,' said Colin Burrell of British Transport Police.


1. All railway level crossings are inspected and assessed by Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate, a division of the Health & Safety Executive.
2. The type of level crossing at any given location is dictated by its situation and usage.
3. Only British Transport Police and Civil Police are authorised to wave traffic across level crossings.

Remember the key safety messages

o STOP as soon as the amber light shows and the audible alarm sounds
o After a few seconds the red lights will start to flash
o You must not cross the line
o NEVER attempt to overtake on a crossing
o You may cross when the lights have stopped flashing, if the lights continue to flash then that means there is another train coming

Drivers - please remember

o Always obey the warning lights and alarms
o Keep a reasonable distant from the vehicle in front
o Never overtake on or near the crossing

Pedestrians please remember

o Always obey the warning lights
o Make sure that children stay behind the stop line on the pavement until the train has passed
o Some level crossings have an audible warning alarm

Level crossing reported incidents between April 1996 until March 1997

Location Incidents
Athelney 1
Bradford 1
Camborne 1
Chapel 1
Coombe junction 3
Eggesford 1
Gwinnear Road 1
Halloon 1
Hele & Bradnich 1
Lanjeth 1
Lostwithiel 5
Newton St Cyres 1
Par 1
Quintrel Downs 1
Red Cow 2
Roskear 3
Salmon Pool 2
Sandways 1
Silk Mill 1
St Blazey Bridge 2
Starcross 1
Stoke Cannon 1
Terras 2
Trenowin Lower 1
Truro 4
Victory 1
Yeoford 1

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-08-06 RTK-002


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