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Students in the east of England targeted in new level crossing safety campaign

Student level crossing safety awareness poster - 2015

A new campaign has been launched encouraging students in the east of England to take care at level crossings as it is revealed that 430 young people in the region were involved in a near miss with a train at a level crossing in the past five years.

The campaign come as thousands of young people embark on new courses at colleges and universities all over the country.

Over the coming weeks, level crossing managers across the region will aim to visit colleges and universities in close proximity to level crossings. They will be handing out leaflets and stick-on guides for mobile phones, reminding students about the importance of staying alert when crossing the railway.

Many students will be unfamiliar with their new surroundings, and may have never lived in an area with level crossings. The safety team will aim to improve awareness of how different level crossings operate and how to stay safe.

Darren Cottrell, head of level crossing safety at Network Rail, explains: “We know a lot of young people move to a new town or city for college or university, and can be unfamiliar with the railway and how the level crossings work in that area. We want to work with student organisations and groups to help raise awareness amongst students to keep them safe in their new homes. 

“We have one of the safest railways in Europe but still tragically a number of young people have lost their lives at level crossings in recent years. Many have seemingly been distracted by their phones, music or conversation.  We’ve created some simple tips and advice to help students cross the railway safely and with confidence – put simply, stay alert and stay alive.”

In the majority of the instances involving young people at level crossings, they appear to have been distracted, listening to music through headphones, and not alert to the dangers posed by crossing the railway.

Among the advice that the level crossing team will be giving, they will be urging young people to: 

  • Avoid distraction. Take off headphones and put away phones so that they can concentrate and understand the warnings that are being given at the level crossing.
  • Stay alert. If in a group, not to assume that someone else is looking out for them. Check both ways before crossing.
  • Never assume that they know train patterns or that a second train isn’t coming if the warnings continue.
  • Never jump the lights or the barriers – a train is approaching.

British Transport Police is supporting the student level crossing campaign. They are visiting level crossings, schools and colleges, alongside Network Rail’s safety teams, all over the country this week (Monday 5 – Sunday 11 October) as part of Operation Look promoting level crossing safety awareness. 

The student level crossing campaign is the fourth in a series of targeted campaigns to high risk groups of level crossing users. These began in June 2015, with messages aimed at cyclists, dog-walkers and farmers. Specially targeted information for professional drivers will be launched later in the year.

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