Network Rail has closed 500 level crossings across Britain since April 2009 and intends to close a further 250 by 31 March 2014.
This marks a significant milestone in the company’s programme to close as many user worked crossings as possible and reduce the level of risk on the network where roads and pathways cross the railway.
User worked crossings are mostly private crossings, not public rights of way, and while mainly located in rural areas, many cross busy main lines. The barriers or gates need to be operated by the person crossing and not the railway and warning measures include miniature warning lights, signs or telephones. In many cases an alternative access for the user is either available or has been provided to secure closure.
Robin Gisby, managing director for network operations for Network Rail said: “In closing these 500 crossings we have removed the risk of a vehicle or person being struck by a train at these locations and improved safety across the network for everyone working or travelling by rail. While this is good progress, there is much more to be done. We aim to close a further 250 by April 2014 and we will work to further improve other crossings across the network and continue to raise awareness of the dangers of misuse.
“Closing a level crossing is not always an easy process, and we often need the support of land owners, local authorities and users. I hope we can count on their continued support as we look to improve safety and modernise the rail network for the future.”