Network Rail reveals Dorset’s most misused level crossing

Network Rail has released a compilation of deliberate misuse at Poole High Street level crossing as it was revealed that more than a third of all incidents³ at level crossings in the county happen there.

Despite the warning lights and alarms going off, cyclists and pedestrians can be seen risking their lives by attempting to make the crossing ahead of passing trains.

Eighty six incidents³ were recorded at level crossings in Dorset in the last year. And of those, 36% were on Poole High Street level crossing.

Sam Pead, Network Rail’s level crossing manager for the region, said:

“The cyclists and pedestrians from this footage were extremely lucky to have avoided serious harm – the consequences could have been so much worse.

“Incidents of this nature, particularly where people think they can make it over the level crossing before the barrier closes, are worryingly common in Dorset- particularly at Poole High Street- and we are working with local authorities to educate people on the dangers of deliberately misusing crossings.

“There are no excuses for attempting to use level crossing when the lowering sequence is active – it’s not just potential criminal proceedings that you’re risking, it’s also your life.”

Network Rail continues to work with Poole Borough Council to improve education and safety enforcement at the level crossing.

This warning comes as a quarter of UK adults admit they don’t know the guidance around how to use a level crossing safely, and young people are even more clueless, with more than a third of 16 – 24 year olds feeling they are unaware¹.

While Britain has the safest rail network in Europe, level crossings are one of the biggest public safety risks as Network Rail’s 20,000 miles of track directly interfaces with about 6,000 road and footpath crossings.

Since 2013 one person has been killed on average on a level crossing every eight weeks².  In the last year there has also been a 12 per cent rise in the number of incidents³ at level crossings.

Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, explains:

“A lack of knowledge around how dangerous the tracks can be means more people are not taking the proper care at level crossings and putting themselves in danger.

“We are investing more than £100m to improve level crossing safety across Britain as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, but we also need everyone who uses level crossings to do their bit too. By understanding how to use a crossing safety and paying attention to the warnings at level crossings, we can all keep ourselves out of harm’s way.”

To find out more about level crossing safety visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/pedestrians or search #BossingTheCrossing on social media.

ENDS