Network Rail warns against flouting rules at level crossing after considerable increase in 'near misses' - The Bromsgrove Standard

Network Rail warns against flouting rules at level crossing after considerable increase in 'near misses'

Bromsgrove Editorial 29th Mar, 2024   0

A COMPILATION of near misses at level crossings has been shared by Network Rail in a bid to deter unsafe actions along railways this Easter Bank Holiday.

CCTV footage from level crossings in Worcestershire and the West Midlands regularly catches vehicles and pedestrians putting their lives at risk by forcing their way through barriers.

The latest footage, released on Wednesday (March 27), includes three incidents which all took place in March and are just a handful of examples of dangerous behaviour from across the region.

In the first clip, a van ignores the signals and lowering barriers, rips down the level crossing barrier and drags it across the Blakedown level crossing in Worcestershire.

Next, a pedestrian forces their way through the closed barrier at Hartlebury level crossing, also in Worcestershire.

And lastly, a car ignores the signals and crosses the other side of the road to quickly dodge the closing barriers at Langley Green level crossing in the West Midlands.

The bigger picture

In total, 60 cases of misuse have been either reported by train drivers or caught on hidden cameras in the Midlands region since January 2024, with four of those considered ‘near misses’ involving pedestrians.

Over the last 12 months, there have been 225 reported cases of misuse with 27 of these classed as ‘near misses’.

In the run up to the Easter holidays, Network Rail has seen an increase in the number of incidents being reported with a large number involving children and young people.

Level crossing managers from Network Rail have issued a letter to local schools to highlight the dangers and implications of railway misuse, and to seek the support of parents, guardians and the local community to help address the issues.

Natalie Stretton, head of operational risk for Network Rail’s Central route, said: “There’s never any excuse for the kind of reckless behaviour.

“Many people, especially young people, fail to understand the danger they put themselves and others in when they make the choice to ignore the safety rules.

“No matter how well you think you know a crossing, all users must obey the rulest. It just really isn’t worth the risk.”

Heed this safety advice

After releasing the video, Network Rail has reissued its guidance on how to use level crossings safely. People should:

  • Concentrate – it’s easy to get distracted, especially by phones, music and conversation.
  • Always follow signs and instructions displayed at level crossings.
  • Check both ways before crossing – if there is a train coming, don’t cross.
  • Understand the warnings (lights, barriers, alarms). Visit level crossings for pedestrians to find out more.
  • Cross quickly, keeping children close and dogs on a lead.

Community engagement to raise awareness

As well as visiting schools, Network Rail level crossing safety teams will be holding safety awareness days at the following crossings to directly warn people of the dangers on the railway, hand out leaflets and explain to passers by how to safely use the level crossings:

  • April 2- Charlemont Road footpath crossing in West Bromwich
  • April 15 – Bicester London Road
  • May 21 – Stoke Mandeville (No 17) in Aylesbury
  • June 18 – Henwick in Worcester

Visit for more information.


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