Crossing campaign targets pro drivers

Shoreham Station crossing
Shoreham Station crossing

SHOREHAM motorists who drive for a living are being targeted by a safety campaign aimed at cutting accidents at level-crossings.

Network Rail has been visiting industrial estates in the town this week due to the large number of heavy vehicles using the crossings, particularly Shoreham East.

Train drivers and CCTV cameras have recorded nine incidents of misuse at Shoreham East in the last year, including three people who jumped over the barriers and three lorries that drove round them as they came down.

“Not all of what we call misuse is done on purpose and we are keen to point out that some people just make mistakes,” said a Network Rail spokesman.

The British Transport Police camera van also recorded 34 offences on 20 occasions over the last year.

Crossings are given two risk scores to show how dangerous they are.

The risk to an individual using a crossing is rated from A to M, while the collective risk for all trains, vehicles, pedestrians an cyclists is rated from 1 to 13.

At a crossing like Shoreham Station, where there is full protection from lights, barriers and yodel alarms, the individual risk is reasonably low (E), but the volume of traffic means the collective risk is very high (2).

“One of the reasons we want to close level crossings - where we can - is that it removes both risks,” said the spokesman.

According to figures from April, 2013, every day the Shoreham Station crossing sees more than 220 trains travelling at 70mph, almost 1,000 vehicles and more than 3,500 pedestrians and cyclists.

Data for the Shoreham East crossing are currently unavailable.

The Network Rail programme is targeting the high-risk crossings such as those in Shoreham first, but their locations mean they are very unlikely to be closed.

“On those crossings we can concentrate our efforts through education and technology,” said the spokesman.

British crossings are among Europe’s safest but almost a fifth of the 142 near misses in 2013 included a lorry, van, bus or taxi.

In the past four years, Network Rail has invested £130 million into level-crossing safety, closing almost 800 crossings, investing in new technology and educating children.