Shocking footage from a level crossing in Bicester has revealed drivers and pedestrians are risking their lives and regularly ignoring its red lights.
In the last five years, there have been 111 incidents of deliberate misuse at the crossing on London Road near Bicester Village station.
Footage release today (7 May) by Network Rail shows a pedestrian jumping over two sets of closed barriers, while another shows a cyclist getting trapped within the crossing and narrowly missing an oncoming train.
The Chiltern main line between Oxford and London can see trains travel at speeds of up to 100mph. But with trains travelling at slower speeds near the station, some impatient road users are taking their safety for granted.
Planned upgrades to the railway between Oxford and Bletchley will mean more faster trains on the route travelling at full speed in future.
Rhys Evans, level crossing manager at Network Rail, said: “I look after more than 70 level crossings, and this one on London Road in Bicester is one that really concerns me due to a high number of people deliberately misusing it.
“Waiting at a level crossing can be frustrating but the barriers are timed to be down for the least amount of time to maintain safety for crossing users and passengers.
“You may be in a hurry. You may use a level crossing every day. You may even think you know when the train is coming. But if you take a chance you’re putting your life and the lives of others at risk.”
Inspector Darren Burridge, from British Transport Police, said: “Each year, hundreds of people take risks on and around the railway, resulting in tragic consequences and life-changing injuries.
“We are continuing to proactively patrol the railway network across England, Wales and Scotland. Safety is our number one priority and we’re reminding everyone of the importance of taking care around the railway and following warning signs when using level crossings.”
The red light at a level crossing flashes when the barriers are coming down and a train is on its way – the same as traffic lights at a road junction.
Misusing a level crossing can damage the railway, which costs the taxpayer. It also increases train and road delays. Most seriously, misusing a level crossing can be fatal.
Network Rail and the British Transport Police are working together to combat misuse at level crossings.