Woman pushed a pram under a descending railway barrier
Irish Rail highlights dangerous incidents for International Level Crossing Awareness Day
A pram being pushed under a descending railway level crossing barrier was just one of the dangerous incidents recorded at level crossings last year.
To mark International Level Crossing Awareness Day on June 10th, Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) has teamed up with the Commission for Railway Regulation and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to ask people to take more care when crossing rail lines.
Iarnród Éireann said most dangerous incidents occurred at user-operated level crossings - which are mostly located in the west.
Last year, there were 20 cases where train drivers had to use emergency brakes to avoid hitting a person or a vehicle.
In some of these cases, gates at unattended level crossings had been left open by previous users, which meant subsequent users thought it was safe to cross the rail lines.
Iarnród Éireann said the outcome of such situations “could be catastrophic”.
There were 89 incidents overall where a vehicle, person or property was struck by a train or barrier in 2015.
In one case, a woman was hit by a descending barrier as she pushed a pram under it.
In a case in Porterstown, Co Dublin, a youth was struck on the head by a barrier as he attempted to cross the railway.
In another incident, a pedestrian under the influence of alcohol was spotted on the tracks, having ignored the level crossing warning signs that a train was approaching.
Don Cunningham, director of Iarnród Éireann Infrastructure, said the “near misses” at level crossings could have had very serious consequences for the persons involved.
He said unattended level crossings in particular pose a serious risk, so it is important that users take responsibility for opening and closing the gates properly when passing through.
“If the gates are left open, another road user might think that it is safe to cross without due care and the consequences could be very serious.”
Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the RSA, said: “The rule of thumb is to always expect a train. Failure to treat level crossings with due care and attention could have serious or fatal consequences.”
A safety at level crossings awareness campaign will begin on June 13th.
An information video is available to view on the RSA’s YouTube page.
A booklet, Safety at Level Crossings, can be downloaded from the RSA website.