Private level crossing safety plans unveiled
Plans to tighten safety at private level crossings have been announced by the Department for Transport (DfT).
The UK has approximately 2,500 private level crossings over railway lines, some of which date back to the Victorian era. Unlike level crossings on public roads which have more modern technology, private crossings often need to be opened and closed manually and sometimes require calling a signaller to check the line is clear as well.
How to use these crossings properly is not always immediately clear and the results can be disastrous. After a fatal collision between a delivery van and a train on a Kent farm’s private crossing in 2017, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) recommended a government review into improved signage with clear information and instructions on how to safely use the crossing.
After testing new designs in Staffordshire since August 2018, the DfT has confirmed that: “The government now intends to introduce legislation to the Private Crossings (Signs and Barriers) Regulations 1996 which would see these new designs brought onto the network next year.”
Rail Minister Andrew Jones MP said: “The safety of everyone using our rail network is always our priority. Private level crossings represent a particular area of risk on our network, so it is vital that we update decade-old signs to ensure they are simple and safe for users. We will continue to work with the industry to test these new signs and ensure our rail network remains one of the safest in the world.”
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