Network Rail’s trial of a new level crossing system has been successfully completed at Ardrossan Harbour in the west of Scotland. The completion of the trial, which employs short barriers at previously open crossings, was marked by a visit from Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Alex Neil.
Dave Thompson, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, a key supporter of the progression of the new system, also attended to hear how the new system will be used to upgrade and improve safety at existing open level crossings (AOCL) on Scotland’s railway network at over 20 locations, including Corpach, Brora, Kirkton and Dalchalm. The improvement programme for AOCLs is due for completion by 2014. Also Included in the programme is Halkirk which will have a conventional barrier system installed.
David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said:
“The trial of this new system on single line railway at Ardrossan has been a fantastic success. We have developed and successfully tested an affordable, innovative system that will improve the safety of open level crossings. I welcome the support of the Scottish Government and Mr. Thompson in the development and rollout of this new safer system.”
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil said:
“Our level crossings are among the safest in Europe and 10 times safer than the European average, but every accident on a level crossing is one too many.
“Tragic incidents like the ones at Delny and Halkirk further confirm the need for all partners, including road users and pedestrians, to work together to do everything we can to reduce the risks.
“I have been encouraged by Network Rail’s determination to find an innovative way forward to improve the safety of open level crossings and I have taken a great interest in this trial at Ardrossan.
“Railway safety, including at level crossings, remains reserved to Westminster. However, to demonstrate our commitment, the Scottish Government earlier this year announced an additional £10million fund to help facilitate the closure of level crossings and I will continue to liaise with Network Rail on these issues.”
Dave Thompson, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said:
“I was delighted to see the successful completion of the new AOCL+B level crossing system at Ardrossan.
“I welcome the announcement that four Highland crossing will now be upgraded forthwith. These four barrier implementations on open highland crossing are the initial first tranche of a roll-out to all the open crossings that remain in the Highlands. This is a major step forward in road/rail safety. I am pleased that the industry and its partners have found an innovative system that will bring significant safety improvements and that is affordable.”