Railway crossing is major danger zone

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A BLACKSPOT railway crossing near Doncaster has been targeted by police trying to catch motorists driving round the barriers.

The Station Road level crossing on the East Coast main line at Rossington is one of the busiest in Yorkshire and train drivers have reported children playing ‘chicken’ on the track and vehicles trying to beat the red lights.

British Transport Police last week carried out an operation in support of an international level crossing awareness day, parking a camera van near the crossing to catch law-breakers.

One man drove through the barriers on a red light even though police officers were clearly visible.

He was stopped.

More than 5,000 road vehicles and around 500 pedestrians use Rossington crossing each day, sometimes having to wait for trains travelling at up to 125mph. There are around 200 trains a day.

In the past year the crossing barriers were damaged by a road user and a train driver reported a near miss where four young people, aged around six to 13, were on the line as the train approached the crossing.

Another driver reported children playing chicken so trains had to be slowed.

Meanwhile, motorists are set to benefit from a world first in sat nav technology which will improve awareness of level crossings.

A free downloadable application which alerts drivers with a cheery train whistle that they are approaching a level crossing has been developed by Network Rail and provider Garmin.

Richard Pedley, community safety manager for Network Rail, said: “We know that incidents of misuse at crossings are massively under reported and there are numerous anecdotes about drivers trying to beat the red lights and get over Rossington crossing.

“Motorists who jump the lights or smash into barriers as they try and beat them coming down can cause great disruption and cost to the network, so we’re always looking at new ways to reduce the risk of incidents at level crossings.”

Chf Insp Dave Oram, from British Transport Police, added: “Our officers remain committed to not only detecting offenders but working closely with Network Rail to reinforce the safety message.

“The roll-out of the camera equipped level crossing vans also provides an ideal opportunity to affect driver behaviour and attitude when approaching level crossings.”