Network Rail: New technology to combat level crossing misuse

Network Rail and British Transport Police have joined up to develop and fund a level crossing van which will better enable officers to take action against people who continue to risk their safety at the region’s crossings.

The purpose-built, BTP-marked van is fitted with nine cameras, each of which uses number plate recognition technology. The vehicle allows officers to target level crossings anywhere in the region and to respond swiftly when misuse is reported by rail staff or members of the public.

To mark the launch of the new technology the van will be stationed at Leasowe level crossing, on Reeds Lane, Leasowe, Wirral on Friday, 14 September.

BTP officers, alongside colleagues from Network Rail and Merseyrail will be on hand to educate drivers and pedestrians on the dangers of crossing misuse.

Funded by Network Rail, the vehicle allows officers to target level crossings anywhere in the region and react to a location where misuse is reported by rail staff or members of the public.

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BTP Inspector Lorna McEwan said: “The education and enforcement initiative has been put in place to give officers an opportunity to drive home the message that running the risk at a level crossing is just not worth it. By trying to save a few seconds, you could end up seriously hurt or losing your life.

“The level crossing enforcement van is a useful tool in helping to reduce level crossing misuse across the country. In comparison to most other countries we have a good safety record, but crossing misuse persists, despite our best efforts, and even one death is one too many.

“Incredibly some people are still putting their lives on the line by ignoring warning lights and sirens and trying to dash through crossings when trains are approaching. This is hugely irresponsible and dangerous and we will not hesitate to take action against anyone caught doing so.”

Karen Hornby, Network Rail area manager Merseyside, added: “Level crossing misuse remains a problem across the country, putting lives at risk, costing millions of pounds and causing delays for thousands of passengers and road users.

“Leasowe is one of the crossings in the region where we continue to see bad motorist behaviour and somewhere we remain focused on educating drivers about the risks of misuse, where necessary using camera technology to prosecute in order to change these dangerous habits and make the railway and roads safer.”