Irish Rail releases videos of vehicles striking level crossings

Company says 82 per cent increase in incidents this year ‘extremely worrying’

Iarnród Éireann has called for vigilance in advance of the introduction of new safety technology. So far, in 2019 there have been 51 incidents at level crossings, an 82% increase on the same period in 2018. Video: Iarnród Éireann


Irish Rail has released videos of level crossings being hit by lorries, cars and even a cyclist, in response to a surge of 82 per cent in the number of such incidents so far this year.

The videos include one of a car determinedly ploughing through closed level crossing gates, a move which puts the vehicle within seconds of being struck by a train.

Another video depicts two joggers running under a closing gate with one of them being struck by second gate as they leave the crossing.

A third video shows a gate closing on a bin lorry, which then reverses off the crossing, taking the gate with it.

In a particularly dramatic video, a lorry carrying gravel reverses onto the level crossing as the gates come down and comes to rest, on the yellow box, blocking the two-track railway line.

A further video depicts a car and animal trailer swerving around one closing gate before taking the second closing gate with it down the road.

The videos were released on Thursday to mark International Level Crossing Awareness Day which takes place on railways across the world.

In 2018 there were 81 incidents at level crossings, the majority of which were level crossing barriers being struck by vehicles which crossed the junction, even though the barriers were lowering and red warning lights were flashing.

Irish Rail said there has been a significant growth in the number of incidents recorded so far this year, with 51 incidents at level crossings across the network, an 82 per cent increase on the same period last year, which it described as “ extremely worrying”.

According to Irish Rail, the barrier at Sutton Station in Co Dublin has been struck 10 times already this year.

Other level crossings that have been regularly struck include Serpentine Avenue, Sydney Parade and Lansdowne Road in Dublin. All of these are equipped with licence plate recognition systems to assist in prosecutions of offenders.

Jim Meade, chief executive of Irish Rail said, “We are working to make user operated level crossings safer with new technology, but the majority of these incidents are occurring at automated level crossings in built-up areas, where there is ample warning that the level crossing is coming into operation”.

International Level Crossing Awareness Day is an International Railway Union initiative to encourage the public to be vigilant when using level crossings to cross railway lines.

Earlier this week, Luas operator Transdev also appealed to the public to take more care when crossing tracks.