LETTER: Rail crossing safety warning a lesson to all – including MPs
- Credit: Steve Oldfield (Fenland Aerial P
I note and welcome the press release on rail crossing safety from the HM Chief Inspector of Railways.
It followed the release of rail safety statistics by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
These showed five deaths occurred at level crossings in Britain in 2020-21, up from two in the previous year.
And this figure could have been much worse with a sharp increase in near misses with pedestrians also being recorded.
Statistics published by the rail regulator show 342 people were nearly hit by oncoming trains in 2020-21 - the highest level of near misses with pedestrians at crossings level since records began in 2002/03.
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Much of this increase relates to a change in level crossing user behaviour.
This includes people ignoring barriers or being distracted by others, using mobile phones and taking photos and videos of the railway in places they shouldn’t.
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There were also 48 near misses with road vehicles at level crossings, down from 75 and the lowest since 2002-03.
It has resulted in the publication of a warning on the Ely Standard, Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard websites which is also very welcome.
John Elworthy, our first-rate editor, is always on top of the news agenda and this is a very relevant local issue.
It is not only in relation to foot traffic but also in relation to slow-moving farm traffic, as we saw recently with the derailment of a freight train locally.
So well done all round.
However, in matters of this sort, I think it is important to lead by example.
Perhaps a round robin to Parliament and councils to ask them to set an example and not behave like these two groups, would add to your campaign.
Perhaps with a copy of your recent guidance?
CPRE Cambridgeshire and Peterborough