Level crossings are found at various locations across the railway where roads and footpaths need to cross the track. They help pedestrians, road traffic and animals cross safely.
It should be common knowledge that level crossings can be dangerous, yet so many people continue to cause accidents at these road/rail junctions, resulting in serious injury and, too often, fatalities.
In fact latest figures show that since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been more than 400 serious incidents at level crossings in Wales.
Network Rail invest in a wide-ranging programme, working with national and local organisations, to make level crossings safer and to help people use them correctly.
This summer, they are working with their partners at Transport for Wales and British Transport Police, to run a safety awareness campaign to counteract the problem.
The ‘At What Cost?’ campaign revolves around a hard-hitting video advert which showcases the true cost of taking risks at level crossings ― all illustrated through the power of poetry.
It highlights that trains can travel at 125mph and cannot stop quickly and warns that if caught short on the tracks, your chances of survival are unlikely.
In recent years there has been a growing trend to take selfies on level crossings. The campaign warns that this is both illegal and extremely dangerous and could land you with a £1,000 fine.
Trains approach almost silently, so if you’re distracted, you won't notice until it’s too late.
As Richard Powell, Inspector at British Transport Police, has said:.”No photograph is worth the risk to you or the consequences for your family and any bystanders.”
When you’re using a level crossing, remember to:
- read the warning signs and follow the instructions carefully
- if you’re on a bike, dismount and walk
- supervise children and animals
- stop, look both ways and listen
- when the line is clear, cross quickly without running (keep looking and listening)
- if there is a gate, always close it behind you.
If you're driving, follow the Highway Code - as well as the warning signs provided locally – as we as these basic rules:
- read and obey the warning signs on the approach to the crossing
- warning lights, audible alarms and automatic barriers should be observed
- do not be tempted to 'jump' the lights or beat the barriers. At many locations 'Gatso' cameras are being installed to observe crossing misuse and you could be prosecuted
- at some locations, a telephone provides a direct link to the signalman. If in doubt, always call the signalman to check if it is safe to cross.
You can help make crossings safer by setting a good example and insisting that your family, friends and other users obey the rules. Missing a level crossing could lead to death or serious injury to yourself or others, including people on the train.
I urge you all to please stay safe at level crossings and never risk your life for a selfie.