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Level Crossing closures

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Level Crossing closures

On BBC news at lunch time today... it is announced that Network Rail is going to close some 500 level crossings in the next 5 years " as a safety measure".. it is also going to cost hem a few bob too!..
The design of level crossing gates... drop down barriers does not seem to be part of the problem ?  however, although trains are quieter, and very much faster than the old steam trains,... I feel that using the old style gates, or something more substantial to present, that "lock" all access to the track before a train arrives, would be much safer for all involved...
Where crossing gates are installed on very busy sections of road, a much larger "cross hatch" area before the gates, would also help to stop "last minute" rush idiots"...
Any comments?
12 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: Level Crossing closures

I think that this also includes quite a few pedestrian only crossings
RichAllen
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Re: Level Crossing closures

You can't legislate for the stupid/borderline retarded.
Idiots will still find a way of hurting themselves or worse on train crossings.
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Re: Level Crossing closures

When they say 'close a level crossing' what happens to the road Undecided
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WTF
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Re: Level Crossing closures

The BBC report I heard wasn't exactly clear about that: they only talked about foot bridges.
I think one of the issues with cars taking risks on crossing is the length of time the gates are closed: near where I used to live the gates would close at least 2 minutes - and often 3 or 4 minutes - before the train turned up.  Also, rather than lift the gates if another train was due, they'd leave them down until the second train deigned to show.
People in a hurry - knowing there's no danger of a train within the next few minutes - are going to be tempted to rush through rather than wait what could easily be 10 minutes.  If the gate closures were just-in-time and only as long as necessary, minimising the delays, I'm sure people would be less tempted to take a risk.
Personally, I just avoided the roads with the crossings - I'd rather drive an extra mile or so than risk getting stuck for an extra 5 mins.
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Re: Level Crossing closures

Some more info here.
Quote
She added: "It took until 2011 before people started listening that level crossing risk assessments were just not being done properly. Risk management was appalling."

Of course there is a risk if you're going to stupidly jump the lights, duck under the barrier or just foolish try to cross when the lights are flashing and warnings are sounding. They need to prosecute these idiots with harsher laws rather than cover us all in yet more cotton wool.
Waiting in the queue doesn't bother me I switch of the engine and have a little rest.
A friend of mine hates going over these crossings to the point when we go out he often asks me if there is another way to avoid them.
Close to where I live there are several pedestrian crossings where there are hand operated gates, no warning lights or sirens. It's common sense to look way down the line, use eyes and ears and, if uncertain, then wait or turn back.

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Re: Level Crossing closures

Quote from: Strat
When they say 'close a level crossing' what happens to the road Undecided

It'll be the same as it was - just the sat nav companies will have to adjust their maps.
As it is now, the road each side of the crossings belong to the highways / council. The level crossings themselves are usually property of the railway and thus there is no real 'right' of access. I suspect this will be the country lane crossings that get closed and not the main ones.
Either way this is one way of causing the public to hate the railways a bit more by further crippling the UK transport infrastructure..
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Thunderclap
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Re: Level Crossing closures

Quote from: RichAllen
You can't legislate for the stupid/borderline retarded.

Cool Quite. A scenario from a few year's back - Double barrier down and lights flashing... then this 'mumsnet' type proceeds to lead her children across the tracks. What the ****** are you doing? Response... there's no cars on the crossing so it's safer. At least the baby was strapped into the pram. That said, with automated gates, there's no chance of the crossing keeper leaving the gates wide open, to traffic and not the train. Which happend.
Mal08
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Re: Level Crossing closures

I agree that it is the idiots that cause the problem not the railway. We dont put barriers at road junctions - and the vast majority of drivers stop .
The railways were there long before most modern roads - and its only the enabling acts of parliament passed down through BR to National rail that mean the railway has to pay for new crossings.
I think it is good that NR are replacing them where they can but in many flats areas it will be very difficult to replace all of them.
PowerLee
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Re: Level Crossing closures

Network Rail have learnt from there mistakes in the past & do there best to make level crossings as safe as possible with improvements or removal all together BUT you cant educate pork, if people are stupid enough that they cant even use a level crossing correctly then they deserve to find out the hard way.
Superuser
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Re: Level Crossing closures

We recently had a level crossing (the road crossing the track) closed for several months after some near misses.  It was on a fairly quiet back road.  If I remember correctly there was barriers that were always down (possibly not covering the full road, I can't remember).  When you pulled up to the barriers the operator would open them when it was safe to do so.  It was reported that there were a few near misses (not too sure how).  The last one that led to it being closed, the operator split coffee on himself (or herself) and opened the barrier when there was a train coming.  They upgraded the crossing whilst it was closed, so it is now automatic gates with plenty of flashing lights when the gates are down.
Edit: Here is a link to the accident report for this: http://www.raib.gov.uk/publications/bulletins/bulletins_2013/bulletin_01_2013.cfm. ; I'm not sure how other near misses could happen!
Phil
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Re: Level Crossing closures

Quote from: Mal08
I agree that it is the idiots that cause the problem not the railway. We dont put barriers at road junctions - and the vast majority of drivers stop .

This is the real issue. People have been stupified by the nanny state.
If we had no barriers there at all and only the flashing lights / siren people would be a lot more cautious.
Because we have barriers and gates that can be jumped over or driven around people will try to chance it thinking they still have a few seconds, if they get hit it's the railways fault for not making it super idiot-proof etc.
I say get rid of all the barriers. People will soon return to the normality of self preservation.
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alanf
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Re: Level Crossing closures

It's not just the UK that has idiots.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27137939