United Kingdom: 100+ events mark ILCAD

4 May

LXinfoImage569-ilcad=englishInternational Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD), May 7th, 2014, will see Network Rail working with partners, including British Transport Police, to mount more than 100 events at level crossings to raise awareness of the arrangements for the safe use of level crossings. Community safety and other teams will talk to people using the targeted levelcrossings, listen to any questions they may have and help them better understand what Network Rail is doing to improve safety for them and everyone around the railway.

While level crossing safety in the United Kingdom  is amongst the best in the world there are still reasonably practicable steps that can and should be taken to further improve safety at level crossings. Most accidents on level crossings do not physically harm those travelling on the train, there is the potential for a major loss of life arising as a result of striking a road vehicle as these events have the potential to derail a train as was evidenced at both Ufton Nervet in 2004 and Great Heck in 2001.

In the year to March 31st, 2013, statistics show that on the national rail network managed by Network Rail there were, excludin intentional deaths, nine fatalities and 453 people were involved in a near miss, either as a pedestrian or a motorist. There were 10 collisions between vehicles and trains and a further 33 vehicles struck and damaged level crossing barriers.

In 2009, Network Rail committed to closing 750 level crossins by the spring of 2014 and is on course to achieve this. In most cases it is private level crossings that are being eliminated. Although a number of public crossings have been eliminated, the costs associated with eliminating this class of crossing can be prohibitive. Therefore, there is a need to invest in making the level crossings that cannot be eliminated cost effectively, other measures may need to be taken to make a crossing safer.

Network Rail is presently investing GBP130 million to, where crossings cannot be eliminated, build footbridges, adding barrier systems at presently open active crossings and deploying radar and other new technology to reduce risk.

Network Rail has also created a dedicated youth initiative, Rail Life, called in partnership with young people to raise awareness of level crossing safety and other rail safety issues. The initiative provides a wide range of resources, ranging from assembly kits to lesson plans, for use in schools and youth clubs.

ILCAD is also being marked in Northern Ireland where Translink, operator of the rail system in the province, takes the lead with support from both police and the road sector.

Keith Pollock, level crossing risk coordinator, Translink NI Railways said: “The majority of level crossing users in Northern Ireland are responsible, however, we would like to take this opportunity to remind them to take care when crossing, don’t try to beat the barriers and prepare to stop when the red lights are flashing.

“The increased use of mobiles and music devices can lead to distraction and the inability to hear the warning alarms at level crossings.  We will be advising pedestrians to pay particular attention when crossing on foot.

“We have also written to the owners of private crossings asking them to review or implement their ‘safe system of working’ to ensure that they, they families and any contractors working for them remain safe.

“By working together we can prevent potentially dangerous incidents on therailway.”

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