Level crossing alert to drivers
- Amber warning lights at road level crossings means ‘stop – a train is coming’
- Be extra cautious in icy conditions; salt cannot be laid on crossings as it increases corrosion of the rails
- Never assume there is only one train coming or guess when a train might come.
- Beware of distractions. Loud music may mean you don’t hear the alarms or an oncoming train.
AS thousands of drivers hit the roads to deliver the estimated 200 million parcels ordered for Christmas, Network Rail has teamed up with some of the biggest road fleets to help drivers stay safe at level crossings this winter.
The message is that the flashing amber lights mean ‘Stop’ unless you have crossed the line, don’t be a rail amber gambler – and be particularly careful in icy conditions as level crossing are not salted because of corrosion risks.
Postmen and women from Royal Mail delivering millions of Christmas cards, TNT couriers bringing gifts for wrapping and drivers from Veolia taking away cardboard boxes from Christmas presents will all be given advice on staying safe when crossing the railway as part of Network Rail’s latest targeted level crossing safety campaign.
Safety posters and leaflets are being sent to depots across the country and drivers have also been supplied with air fresheners to hang in their cabs with helpful tips on how to use level crossings safely. One has even been sent to the world’s most famous Christmas delivery driver based at the North Pole …
Britain has the safest railway in Europe but in the last five years there have been almost 150 near misses and six collisions involving commercial vehicles and trains at level crossings.
Darren Furness, head of level crossing safety at Network Rail, said: “We know that the winter months can be an extremely demanding time for people who drive for a living. Increased demand for goods, the need to meet delivery deadlines, short daylight hours and poor weather conditions all put extra pressure on drivers.
“To help keep them and others using the railway safe during this busy time, we’ve given drivers some top tips to remind them how to safely use level crossings whenever they get behind the wheel. We hope these will help reduce the number of accidents and make sure those Christmas cards and presents are delivered safely to your door.”
Network Rail is spending £100m on level crossing safety.
Since 2010 it has:
- Closed over 980 level crossings
- Replaced footpath crossings with footbridges
- Installied warning lights at footpath crossings
- Launched a new schools programme
- Rolled out safety camera enforcement vans
- Invested in new technology such as the obstacle detection radar
Network Rail’s new campaign aims to encourage safer behaviour to keep commercial drivers from harm at level crossings.
Neil Griffiths, director of health, safety and environmental at TNT UK, said: “While our drivers are trained to the highest standards, it is always worth reminding them, other drivers and even pedestrians of the dangers around the railway lines, particularly at crossings.”
Nicholas Burns, safety, health and environment engagement manager at Royal Mail, added: “As a company whose employees use level crossings across the whole country, Royal Mail looks forward to working with Network Rail to increase awareness of hazards at these locations.”
In addition to these national partnerships, Network Rail’s 100 dedicated level crossing managers will be delivering this safety message to drivers at companies with large commercial fleets all over the country.
The commercial drivers crossing campaign is the fifth in a series of targeted campaigns to high risk groups of level crossing users. These began in June with messages aimed at cyclists, dog-walkers, farmers and students.