Network Rail announces 'week of action' on level crossing safety

 

Network Rail has launched a week of action on a level crossing in the St Albans area after two people in two weeks narrowly avoided death or serious injury on the same crossing.

The news comes just a month after a 72-year-old man and his teenage grandson were killed when a passenger train hit a car on a level crossing in West Sussex.

Network Rail said the near misses in St Albans on Cotton Mill Lane footpath level crossing, between St Albans Abbey and Park Street stations, also follow hundreds of seperate incidents at the spot in the last three years.

'Covert surveys' recorded 787 separate incidents of deliberate misuse and accidental user behaviour at the crossing between 25 July and 2 August 2015 and 1 July to 9 July 2017.

The national rail operator plans to speak with users and remind them of the importance of level crossing safety.

It has already installed lighting, clear markings, new signs and a yellow walkway across the railway and removed vegetation to improve visibility to help people use the crossing correctly.

Incidents of misuse included 'young children playing on the crossing and adults not paying attention when using it by wearing headphones, looking at their mobile phones or crossing with dogs not on leads'.

Priti Patel, head of safety for Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: 'The two recent near misses between people and trains, combined with the worrying high number of incidents of deliberate misuse and accidental user behaviour, has prompted us to take action to remind people of the need to always use crossings correctly.

'We want to remind everyone of the significant risk to people’s lives if they don’t. Our advice is simple: never take a chance on a level crossing and always use it correctly.'

The busy Cotton Mill Lane crossing is close to schools, a supermarket, a leisure centre and a retail park, and is used by around 800 pedestrians and 200 cyclists every day.

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