Network Rail has put out a warning to drivers following a number of near misses at level crossings on the A259 in East Guldeford. Drivers are being reminded to watch for and stop when red warning lights are displayed at automatic half barrier crossings.
The warning follows an incident which occurred during the day on November 28, 2020 on the A259 at Star Crossing near Rye and comes after another near miss a month before (see footage below).
[Editor’s note: The warning is timely now as the possible ending of the “stay at home” rule and likely relaxation of various lockdown rules could mean more drivers on the roads who are unfamiliar with unmanned level crossings, or indeed level crossings at all]
In the latest incident a driver in a Volkswagen car ignored the flashing red lights, stopping just short of the railway line from Rye to Ashford and within the level crossing boundary. The barriers then came down on the car and the driver decided not to proceed over the railway, or to exit the crossing area for his own safety. A freight train then came through the level crossing at speed with the driver and his vehicle just feet away.
There has been a spike in near misses at level crossings in East Sussex in recent months with this incident being the 10th in the six months between June-December 2020.
Most automatic half-barrier level crossings in Kent and Sussex have safety enforcement cameras fitted with the remaining crossings due to have cameras installed soon. This is to improve safety and encourage drivers to obeying the red warning lights as required by the Highway Code.
Toby Broyad, level crossing manager for Network Rail, said: “This is a sobering reminder of the dangers of drivers not being alert when driving, and not following the Highway Code.
“We are investing heavily in ‘red light safety cameras’ and while luckily no-one was injured in this incident, the police will prosecute drivers who take a risk at level crossings, not just with their own lives but with the safety of our staff and passengers.
“Many of our level crossings now have safety enforcement cameras and they risk a fine and points on their license should they ignore the warnings and safety of others.”
If members of the public see anyone misusing a level crossing they are asked to contact British Transport Police by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40.
Source: Network Rail
Image Credits: Network Rail .