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Drivers and pedestrians still risking lives at level crossings

Drivers and pedestrians are continuing to put lives at risk by ignoring flashing lights and warning sirens at level crossings in the south east.

Footage from CCTV cameras showing people misusing level crossings in the southeast has been revealed today, as Network Rail closes its 750th crossing since 2010.

Police CCTV picked up a car overtaking on a blind bend in an attempt to cross Berwick Level Crossing, in East Sussex, while the barriers descended, while a tipper truck was caught running the lights, and narrowly missing the falling barriers at Ashtead. Another CCTV van picked up a driver taking a chance at Crawley’s Brighton Road level crossing.

The closure of a level crossing on the East Coast Main Line in Cambridgeshire means Network Rail has now reached its target, set in 2010, of closing 10% of Britain’s crossings – 750 in total – by April 2014, contributing to a reduction in the overall risk level crossings pose to the network by 25%.

Where the company can’t close level crossings, it has pledged to make them safer.

Robin Gisby, managing director of network operations for Network Rail, said: "Reaching our target to close 750 crossings in four years is good news for Network Rail, train operators and of course the public, but we cannot be complacent. There is much more we can do to make the level crossings that remain safer and we will continue to introduce new technology, upgrade crossings to include lights or barriers where appropriate and work with schools, communities and other organisations to spread awareness of our safety message.

"We've pledged to close a further 500 level crossings in the next five years. Successfully closing a crossing isn't always a straightforward process, so we will need the support from local authorities, landowners and the public to help us achieve our new target and improve safety further still."

Since 2010, Network Rail has invested £131m in a national level crossings improvement programme, which by the end of March will have resulted in:
- 38 footbridges to replace crossings
- 57 new spoken warnings installed to announce "another train is coming" when one train has already passed through
- Obstacle detection radar technology installed at 13 sites
- New barrier technology installed at 33 sites which previously had open crossings
- New warning lights installed at 16 crossings
- 250 power operated gate openers installed to prevent vehicle owners crossing the tracks on foot unnecessarily or gates being left open
- ‘Wavetrain’ sound vibration technology trialled at Whitehouse Priory View crossing in Norfolk
- GPS technology installed on the Marks Tey – Sudbury line allowing signallers to pinpoint a train's location and provide better safety information to those requesting permission to cross
- 21 crossings fitted with red light safety cameras to dissuade motorists from jumping the lights.
- 13 mobile safety camera enforcement vans operated by British Transport Police
- 100 new Network Rail level crossing managers
- National TV and digital advertising campaign – See Track, Think Train
- Rail Life schools awareness campaign www.rail-life.co.uk
Network Rail has pledged close a further 500 crossings in the next five years, investing more than £100m over this period as part of its ongoing programme of work to improve safety and reduce risk to passengers and the wider public.
In 2013, there were 10 accidental fatalities at level crossings and 10 collisions between trains and road vehicles.

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