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Around 144 trains travel through Red Cow level crossing (near Exeter St. Davids station) every day, with nearly 300 vehicles and more than 60 pedestrians and cyclists using it per hour. 

The awareness event at Red Cow level crossing (near Exeter St. Davids station) forms part of Network Rail’s ongoing Don’t Run the Risk campaign and the International Level Crossing Day of Action (ILCAD), which sees 45 countries coordinating activities to remind motorists and pedestrians on using level crossing correctly.

Tragically, hundreds of people are killed globally every year, after taking chances by running red lights, swerving barriers or ignoring warning signs.

On 20 January 2010, a car was caught by the barriers after the driver jumped the red light at Red Cow level crossing.  The driver was unhurt but the consequence could be serious.

Liz Heading, Network Rail’s community safety manager for West Country said: “We have a good safety record in comparison to many other countries but even one death is one too many. Jumping the lights and ignoring warning signs is sadly a sight we see all too often. Level crossings are safe, but if misused, they all pose very real risks.


“Today’s international action day gives us another 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.”

First Great Western Head of Security Paula Durrans said: “We are very pleased to work alongside Network Rail and BTP to help raise awareness of the dangers of level crossings in this way. It is so important that people take notice of the risks and think twice about crossing when the lights are on red. A little bit of patience can mean the difference between life and death.”

Sergeant Dave Mannion said: “British Transport Police (BTP) and its industry partners at Network Rail, First Great Western, CrossCountry and South West Trains are committed to continuing to educate drivers to use level crossing safely at Red Cow and across Devon.

“Around 95% of the people who are caught and prosecuted for misusing level crossings live in the local area and have used the facility many times. It is often this familiarity that causes the problem.  We would urge all users to comply to safety rules and use level crossings correctly.”

The awareness event is led by Network Rail, in partnership with the British Transport Police, Cross Country and First Great Western.

Throughout the day the team will monitor the crossings at Red Cow and speak to pedestrians and drivers about misuse, offering advice and information on how to stay safe on the railway.

They will also be handing out leaflets that spell out the chilling truth of taking chances at level crossings, and pose the question: ‘Would it kill you to wait?’.