Cookies and We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive them.
You can read more about how we use cookies, and turn them off, on this page.


Campaign reminds commuters to use level crossings safely

01 March 2016

Over the last five years, more than half of all near misses with trains involving commuters at level crossings happened during evening rush hour, reveals Network Rail as it launches its latest level crossing safety awareness campaign.


To combat the problem and help improve the safety of everyone who travels on or across the railway, the campaign reminds commuters – who travel to and from work on a daily basis – to take care at level crossings.

Although Britain has the safest major rail network in Europe, injuries and near misses still happen.

In the last five years there have been more than 500 near misses involving cyclists, motorists and pedestrians during the peak travel hours for commuters –7-9am and 4-7pm. Six out of every 10 of these incidents (61 per cent) occur during the evening rush hour.

Network Rail’s campaign launch coincides with British Transport Police’s (BTP) Operation Look level crossing safety initiative. On Tuesday 1 March, BTP and Network Rail safety teams at level crossings across Britain will be handing out leaflets and travel card holders carrying key safety messages and giving advice on how to use level crossings safely to commuters and other level crossing users.

Commuters know their route well and are concerned with reaching their end destination rather than thinking about arriving there safely. They may believe that waiting at a level crossing will delay their journey too much and cause them to miss their train, ultimately making them late for work.

The new campaign encourages safer behaviour at level crossings, reminding everyone:

  • Amber warning lights at road level crossings mean ‘stop – a train is coming’
  • Don’t rush to try to beat the barriers or other warning systems at level crossings
  • Beware of distractions such as phones or music
  • Never assume that there is only one train coming or think that you know the timetable to guess when a train might come

Commuters want their journey to or from work to be as quick and easy as possible, and I understand they may find waiting at a level crossing an inconvenience, especially after a hard day’s work.

It is important that everyone understands that level crossing warnings are there to keep us all safe, so be vigilant and obey the rules – even if you’re in a hurry.

Network Rail is investing more than £100m to improve level crossing safety across Britain, but we need motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to do their bit too. By paying attention to the warnings at level crossings and avoiding distractions, we can all keep ourselves out of harm’s way.

Darren Cottrell, head of level crossing safety at Network Rail

Commuters level crossing safety campaign  

Above: One of Network Rail's safety campaign leaflets aimed at commuters

The campaign is the latest of Network Rail’s initiatives to raise awareness of level crossing safety among key groups who use them the most, including cyclists, pedestrians, dog walkers, farmers and farm workers, students at 20 of the universities across the country near level crossings, and commercial drivers.

A programme run by Network Rail for primary and secondary schools, called Rail Life, teaches children about how to stay safe when crossing the railway, and there is an ongoing programme of improvements to level crossings across the network. The last of 66 ‘open’ level crossings was upgraded in December as part of a three-year national programme to improve level crossing safety.