Local residents and other users of Pinhoe level crossing will be learning to stay safe on the railway during a campaign organised by Network Rail and British Transport Police (BTP).
Last year several incidents of members of the public misusing the crossing were recorded. Examples of misuse since 2010 have included a passenger who ducked under one of the barriers as it was descending to access the platform; a group of cyclists who climbed over one of the barriers after it had been lowered; and a pedestrian who appeared distracted and almost stepped in front of a passing train.
Dan Hayes, Network Rail’s level crossing manager, said:
“We have pledged that where we cannot close a level crossing we will make it safer. Here at Pinhoe what we want to do is raise awareness of how to safely use the crossing and help people understand the dangers and risks which exist where the road meets the railway. By following our advice, everyone can help keep themselves and others safe.”
The campaign will be taking place on the morning of Tuesday 3 February and forms part of a nationwide week of action led by Network Rail and BTP. Staff from both organisations will be supported at Pinhoe by representatives from First Great Western, and by Network Rail’s level crossing user champion, Tina Hughes, whose daughter tragically lost her life on a level crossing in Elsenham in 2005.
During the campaign, members of the public will be given advice on how to use the crossing correctly and issued with flyers containing key safety information. These flyers will also be handed out to passengers at Pinhoe station and given to residents and businesses in the local area.
Tina Hughes, Network Rail’s level crossing user champion, who is also involved in the nationwide week of action, said:
“Having lost my 14 year old daughter, Olivia, with her friend on a level crossing in 2005, I am delighted to see this nationwide week of action to highlight the dangers. It brings BTP and Network Rail together to emphasise the importance of education and enforcement to help and encourage people to behave safely at level crossings. Network Rail continues to close them where possible and improve the warnings and protection where closure isn’t an option. But we all need to understand that level crossings are dangerous and being hit by a train is not something that many are lucky enough to walk away from.”
Inspector Becky Warren of BTP, said:
“It might be tempting to ignore a flashing light to save a minute or two on your journey, but every time you misuse a crossing you are endangering your life and the lives of other rail and road users.”
“You could also end up with a driving ban or a criminal record. Is it really worth it?”
Paula Durrans, First Great Western’s head of security, said:
“We fully support this campaign by BTP and Network Rail. Working to ensure a safer railway, we would also urge those in the local community to join us in supporting this work by using the railway responsibly.”