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Published on : Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Farmers across Wales are being urged to ‘See Track, Think Train’ when they use the 1,200 level crossings across the country.
In Wales, there have been 543 incidents at ‘User Worked Crossings’ (UWC), the kind often operated by farmers, in the last five years, including 66 ‘near misses’. Between January 2007 and June 2012, three people died while using level crossings in Wales.
Now Network Rail hopes a new campaign will make farmers more aware that they should treat level crossings as they would a busy road, even in quiet rural areas, and that the powerful message “See Track, Think Train” will raise awareness that paying attention to warning signs can save your life.
While fatalities at level crossings are at a low, there have been four vehicle collisions in the last 12 months at UWCs in Wales.
Tracey Young, Network Rail Community Safety Manager for the Wales route, said, “Network Rail and NFU Cymru are concerned about the welfare of the agricultural professionals that use level crossings. Work is continuing to improve railway safety at level crossings, which includes modifying, upgrading and closing crossings where possible.
NFU Cymru President Ed Bailey said they were keenly aware of the need for vigilance at level crossings and urged members to heed Network Rail’s advice.
“In recent times, NFU Cymru has been leading numerous campaigns to heighten the farming community’s awareness of health and safety issues as agriculture has proven to be one of the most dangerous industries in which to work.
“Farmers with land either side of the railway rely heavily on being able to use level crossings and we are happy to work with Network Rail on this campaign and hopefully, by raising awareness of the dangers at the same time as Network Rail continuing to modify and upgrade them – bearing in mind access for modern-day farm machinery – we can reduce the number of incidents on crossings .”
Tracey added: “We hope this new campaign will raise awareness that we all need to take care and look out for the warning signs ahead of every level crossing because doing so can save your life.”
Network Rail says farming communities will stay safe if they adhere to the following advice:
– Always use crossing telephones where provided;
– Follow the signaller’s instructions;
– Always be vigilant;
– Make sure livestock are under control;
– Don’t rely solely on train timetables – there is always the chance of a charter or engineering train passing when you least expect it.
Network Rail is also offering compensation packages to landowners who would like to sell the rights to their crossings. More than 600 level crossings have already been closed, with the target being 750 crossing closures by April 2014. If you would like to pursue this option, please contact Network Rail’s Liability Negotiations Manager Don Hughes on 0121 345 3354.
Source:- Network rail