Level crossing users in the south east are being warned to stay safe when travelling over the railway, after Network Rail released shocking footage showing motorcyclists unlawfully using a pedestrian crossing and coming within inches of a fatal collision with a Southeastern Highspeed train.
The incident, which happened last weekend at Shornemead level crossing near Gravesend, is a stark reminder of the dangers of complacency when crossing the railway. Despite the quiet, rural setting, Shornemead crossing is on a busy stretch of railway which sees more than 120 trains daily, with many travelling at speeds of up to 70mph.
Vincent van der Hoeven, route level crossing manager for Network Rail, said: “I was taken aback when I saw the footage of this incident, which was unbelievably close to becoming a considerably more serious accident. It is an eye-opening reminder to not underestimate the dangers of being distracted when crossing the railway.
“We are reviewing the safety protections at this crossing and would implore users to remain attentive at all times. We are working to identify those involved in this incident and would ask anyone with any information to contact the British Transport Police either by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40, quoting reference 278 of 22/10/19.”
British Transport Police Inspector Jon Pine added: “This is absolutely shocking footage and the person involved is incredibly lucky not to have been seriously injured, or even worse, killed. It is hard to comprehend how anyone can have such disregard for the dangers of the railway, and I hope this serves as a strong reminder of the need for vigilance and safety when using level crossings.
“We continue to make enquiries into the incident and I’d ask anyone who recognises those in the footage to get in touch with us.”
Since July 2018 there have been seven near misses involving members of the public at Shornemead. Level crossing users are reminded to remain vigilant at all times for their own safety and ensure that they follow the ‘Stop, Look, Listen’ protocol before traversing the railway.
Users should always assume that a train could be approaching – from both directions. Where required, crossing users must phone the signaller and follow their instructions closely, while any gates should always be closed after use.
Crossing users are also reminded that it is unlawful to use anything motorised or a bicycle on footpath crossings like Shornemead. The crossing is designed to be used on foot and using a bike of any kind is both illegal and extremely dangerous.