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Published on : Tuesday, December 1, 2015
It is ten years since the tragic deaths of Olivia Bazlinton, 14, and Charlotte Thompson, 13, at Elsenham level crossing in Essex – an event which led to a sea-change in Network Rail’s approach to level crossing safety and today Britain has the best level crossings safest record of any major railway in Europe.
In 2010, Network Rail began its level crossing safety improvement programme which has helped make the railway significantly safer by improving and upgrading crossings with new technology and removing or replacing almost 1,000 from the national network altogether.
More than 100 dedicated level crossing managers have been employed and trained to manage the safety of around 60 crossings each, building local relationships with those that use the railway most frequently, and an improved management system helps us better understand the specific risks at each crossing and deploy appropriate warning and protection measures.
Mark Carne, Network Rail’s chief executive says: “Since Elsenham our approach to level-crossing safety has been transformed. Today we carry out detailed risk assessments of every crossing to target our interventions in a much more effective way.
“We have made huge strides in level-crossing safety over 10 years, and I’m proud of the fact that our level crossings are the safest in Europe, but they’re still inherently hazardous places and there’s still much more we can do, working with communities to make level crossings even safer.”Tina Hughes, Olivia’s mother, now works with Network Rail as the company’s level crossing user champion. Here, she talks about how things have changed ten on years on.