Iarnród Éireann records over 140 incidents at level crossings

Occurrences noted by company include near misses with cars, cyclists and pedestrians

Footage released by Irish Rail shows motorists crashing into the barriers at level crossings in various locations around the country. Video: Irish Rail

 

There were 142 incidents at level crossings in the past year, according to figures from Iarnród Éireann.

No injuries have been recorded since June 2016, but there has been one death; pensioner Bridie McHale was struck by a train at a level crossing in Knockshambally, near Straide, Foxford, Co Mayo, last April.

“We did obviously have the fatality in Co Mayo on April 1st, but that wasn’t a level-crossing incident. It was a person who actually went on to the line to follow their dog. So it wouldn’t have been classified as a level-crossing incident,” said a spokeswoman for Iarnród Éireann.

Incidents included near-misses with cars, tractors, cyclists and pedestrians, vehicles striking barriers and vehicles abandoned on a level crossing.

The figures were released to mark International Level Crossing Safety Awareness Day, which reminds all users to act safely at level crossings.

The Pearse to Bray line experienced the most incidents over the last year, where 27 occurred. This section of track features some of the busiest level crossings on the network including the Merrion Gates, Serpentine and Sydney Parade level crossings.

Busy crossings

Iarnród Éireann said vehicle recognition has been installed at these crossings to assist in apprehending those who do not use the crossings correctly and that it will be rolled out to other busy level crossings.

Since 2013, 60 crossings, most of which were field crossings, have been eliminated across the network. The rail company is in the final testing stages for a trial of a traffic light system at user-operated level crossings to further improve their safe use.

Iarnród Éireann said it is also carrying out briefings with organisations with large fleets of vehicles to educate and inform about the correct use of level crossings.

“Iarnród Éireann’s number-one priority is safety, and it is our hope that International Level Crossing Awareness Day will bring to the fore more than ever the importance of the safe use of level crossings across the network,” added the spokeswoman.