There are around 6,000 crossings on our rail network and we have a legal duty to assess, manage and control the risk for everyone

Level crossings fall into five distinct categories but each is unique so we’ve worked with our rail industry partners to develop a standardised method for assessing crossing risk. Factors taken into account include frequency of trains, frequency and types of users and the environment where the crossings are located.

Risk assessment

Level crossings are assessed at a frequency that is based on the level of risk a crossing poses. The assessment frequency ranges from 1¼ to 3¼ years.

We improve safety by managing and mitigating the risk at crossings. Education and safety campaigns are a fundamental part of this.

A safer railway

We can eliminate risk by closing crossings where agreement can be reached to do so. Between 2009 and 2017 we delivered the following as part of our commitment to a safer railway:

  • closed 1,100 level crossings
  • improved sighting at over 1,100 crossings
  • fitted LED road traffic lights at 500 crossings, significantly improving their brightness
  • introduced new technology to better inform users of a second train approaching the crossing in quick succession to the first
  • repositioned over 250 crossing phones into safe areas for users
  • designed and commissioned a new type of level crossing featuring automatic obstacle detection technology
  • installed barriers at 66 open crossings
  • introduced a fleet of mobile safety vehicles for operation by the British Transport Police to discourage deliberate misuse and to record offences at level crossings
  • rolled out level crossing red light safety cameras, with 33 currently installed across the network (December 2017)
  • installed power-operated gates at 77 user worked crossings
  • commissioned 65 audible warning devices at high risk footpath crossings
  • delivered a programme of miniature stop lights for installation at user worked crossings.

Enhancing level crossing safety

Our strategy continues to reinforce our long-term safety vision to have no accidents at level crossings. It highlights four key areas of focus: risk management, technology and innovation, competence management, education and enforcement.

Each of these focal areas are underpinned by the need for effective collaboration both internally and externally with our stakeholders.

Download our level crossing strategy

Enhancing Level Crossing safety 2019 – 2029
2 MB

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