Agencies take action after 'worrying' rise in incidents at level crossing

Network Rail and the British Transport Police are taking action after a 'worrying rise' in the number of incidents at a level crossing in South Yorkshire.

Figures have revealed that in the last 18 months there have been eight incidents at Arksey level crossing near Doncaster on the East Coast Main Line, which have included three barrier strikes.

So on Thursday October 6, the two agencies will be holding an awareness day to promote the safe use of level crossings.

A mobile safety van will be in use throughout the day to identify any drivers who deliberately misuse the crossing, as well as handing out leaflets and chatting to drivers when the barriers are down and the traffic is at a standstill.

Darren Robinson, level crossing manager at Network Rail, said: “We’ve had a number of level crossing incidents over the past 18 months at Arksey. This is one of the region’s busiest crossings and failing to adhere to the safety procedures could have potentially tragic consequences.”

He added that Network Rail is investing £100m across Britain in a bid to improve level crossing safety.

Arksey sees 180 trains each day travelling up to speeds of 125mph while more than 4000 vehicles and just under 100 pedestrians use the level crossing on Station Road at Bentley every day.

Insp Graham Bridges, from the British Transport Police said: “Level crossings – and other crossings where a road or footpath cross over the railway – are designed to keep people safe.

“And, when used correctly, that is exactly what they do.

“Safety at busy level crossings such as Arksey is a top priority for us. Incredibly some people still put their lives at risk by ignoring warning lights and sirens and try to dash through the crossing while the barriers are descending and trains are approaching.

“This is not only hugely irresponsible but also extremely dangerous, and we will not hesitate to take action against anyone caught doing so. It is not the level crossings that are dangerous, but people’s misuse and misunderstanding of how they operate. Some people assume they can beat the lights but those few extra seconds are not worth risking your life for.”

Further statistics reveal that across Yorkshire since 2014 there have been 6,000 reports of deliberate misuse at level crossings, include 50 ‘near misses’ and three fatalities.