Network Rail has completed its 600th level crossing closure since 2009 as part of its £130m investment programme to improve safety and reduce the risk where the road or path meets the railway.
The majority of closures involve user worked crossings, which are mostly private crossings, not public rights of way. While situated in rural areas, many cross busy main lines. The barriers or gates need to be operated by the person crossing 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. Around 125 footpath crossings have also been closed. Footpath crossings are the focus of Network Rail’s current TV advertising campaign: See Track/Think Train.
Martin Gallagher, head of level crossings for Network Rail said: “Every crossing that we close removes the risk of a vehicle or person being struck by a train at these locations and improves safety for everyone on the railway. We’ve closed around 100 in the last year and aim to close 750 in total by Spring 2014 so there is much more work to do. Closing a level crossing is not always an easy process, and we often need the support of land owners, local authorities and users. I look to their continued support as we look to improve safety and modernise the rail network for the future.”
Network Rail has a £130m investment programme to improve level crossing safety. This includes:
Replacing footpath crossings with footbridges
Installing warning lights as an additional safety measure at footpath crossings
A new schools programme – Rail Life – teaching both primary and secondary school children about how to stay safe when crossing the railway
Rolling out 10 more camera enforcement vans
Investing in new technology including obstacle detection lasers
Introducing new cost effective barriers to open crossings
Employing more than 100 new dedicated level crossing managers
Community safety managers who work closely with local groups, councils and schools to raise awareness
Types of level crossings for pedestrians:
Footpath crossings - around 3000
User worked crossings - around 2500
Station crossings - around 200