Network Rail hopes a new TV advert will make people more aware that they should treat approaching rail footpath crossings as they would a busy road, even in quiet rural areas. The advert depicts a family taking a slow and easy cycle through the countryside, playing a game of “I spy” which distracts them as they approach the footpath crossing. The daughter is standing on the crossing as she realises the answer to the game is “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with t”, is track; she then hears the approaching train sound its horn and realises she is in its path.
Network Rail hopes the powerful message “See track, think train” will raise awareness that despite the quiet, rural setting, that paying attention to warning signs can save your life. While fatalities at level crossings are at a low, there have been more pedestrians than motorists killed at crossings in recent years, and Network Rail wanted to focus its latest campaign to connect with this audience.
Dave Ward, Network Rail route managing director for Anglia, said: “We know it is easy to get distracted or given the sleepy, rural surroundings not realise the risk at a crossing, but just as motorways cut through the countryside, so do railways.
“We’re doing all we can to make the railway safer by upgrading crossings or closing them if we can, but we hope this advert will raise awareness that we all need to take care and look out for the warning signs ahead of every level crossing; doing so can save your life.”
This campaign, with a focus on pedestrian safety, follows Network Rail’s summer online video with rap artist Professor Green, asking people to remove their headphones at level crossings so they aren’t distracted from safety warnings.
Network Rail has a £130m investment programme to improve level crossing safety. This includes:
• A national closure programme which will see 750 crossings removed from the network by April 2014. More than 600 have already been closed.
• 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 – the Anglia route already has one camera enforcement van and a second one will arrive later this year
• Investing in new technology
• Introducing new cost effective barriers to open crossings
• Employing more than 100 new dedicated level crossing managers nationally
• Community safety managers who work closely with local groups, councils and schools to raise awareness