Like this site? Help us to make it better.

New TV advert highlights level crossing danger to cyclists and walkers (+ video)

Network Rail campaign urges crossing users to "See track: Think train"...

Network Rail has released a new television advert with the strapline "See track: Think train," highlighting the potential dangers to cyclists and pedestrians when using level crossings.

The 30-second spot shows a family out on a bike ride in the countryside playing a game of ‘I spy…’ with the daughter realising – too late, apparently – that the “something beginning with T” is the railway track she is standing on as a train approaches.

Since 1 April 2012, two pedestrians and one cyclist as well as two motorists have lost their lives on level crossings in Britain.

Phil Dawn, aged 34, of Kirkby-in-Ashfield lost his life in May while riding his bike across a level crossing between Sutton Park and Mansfield railway stations in Nottinghamshire.

Newspaper reports suggested that he had been listening to music on his headphones when he was struck by a train.

An earlier campaign from Network Rail this summer featuring Rap Artist Professor Green urged people to remove headphones while using level crossings.

However, the father of a teenage girl killed, along with a friend, at a level crossing in Essex seven years ago, insisted that it was wrong to place all the responsibility on crossing users.

Olivia Bazlinton, aged 14, and her friend 13-year-old Charlotte Thompson, were killed at Elsenham station in December 2005.

Olivia’s father Chris Bazlinton told Sky News: "The sighting at that time was appalling, you couldn't see anything, you couldn't hear anything.

"The maximum time you could see a train is three seconds from that position.

"They were both quite short and they couldn't possibly see anything so they just stepped out in front, and they were killed instantly."

Network Rail received a £1 million fine for breaching safety legislation in connection with that incident and has subsequently erected a footbridge at the station, while the level crossing gates have been changed to ones with automatic locking.

Reg Thompson, Charlotte’s father, maintained that similar changes should be made throughout the country.

"The railways are, in huge parts of this country, still unfit for purpose,” he insisted. “The stations must be updated and made as safe as possible.

"They can never be completely safe; nobody can stop someone jumping over the fence, but we can create at least a fence, we can put locking gates in."

Speaking of the new initiative launched today, Martin Gallagher, head of level crossings for Network Rail, said: “While fatalities at level crossings are at a low, there have been more pedestrians than motorists killed at crossings in recent years, and so we wanted to focus our campaign to connect with this audience.

“We know that it’s easy to get distracted or given the sleepy, rural surroundings not realise the risk at a crossing, but just as motorways cut through the countryside, so do railways. 

“We’re doing all we can to make the railway safer by upgrading crossings or closing them if we can, but we hope this advert will raise awareness that we all need to take care and look out for the warning signs ahead of every level crossing; doing so can save your life.”

Network Rail has also outlined a £130 million upgrade programme for level crossings, including:

A closure programme which will see 750 crossings removed from the network by April 2014. More than 600 have already been closed.

Replacing footpath crossings with footbridges

Installing warning lights as an additional safety measure at footpath crossings

A new schools programme – Rail Life – teaching both primary and secondary school children about how to stay safe when crossing the railway

Rolling out 10 more camera enforcement vans

Investing in new technology including obstacle detection lasers

Introducing new cost effective barriers to open crossings

Employing more than 100 new dedicated level crossing managers

Community safety managers who work closely with local groups, councils and schools to raise awareness.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Latest Comments

  • IanMSpencer 1 sec ago

    Well in the last month, two people I cycle with have had falls requiring hospital investigation of head injuries while wearing helmets, both were...

  • Rich_cb 5 min 23 sec ago

    Russia threw a huge heap of money at Alex Salmond after he left power and Corbyn still has a large following in the UK Labour party so I suspect he...

  • lonpfrb 26 min 32 sec ago

    Rather than confrontation, there is Avoidance. Specifically providing the spacially challenged drivers with a visual aid showing the minimum...

  • NOtotheEU 33 min 7 sec ago

    I bought a Shimano cassette from Amazon and another from E-bay during lockdown and I'm very suspicious of both. The packaging looked perfect but...

  • hirsute 35 min 43 sec ago

    Congratulations - your subscription has now gone up in recognition!

  • galibiervelo 45 min 4 sec ago

    Riders who use these aerobars and the one piece bar and stem getting more popular; the wider, flat shape of the top of the bars mean, when you are...

  • Themadchemist 1 hour 24 min ago

    I've had 2 KMC chains fail on my campag 10spd equipped bike,probably 5yrs ago.. Fortunately they both broke within a mile of home and I was able to...

  • Awavey 1 hour 47 min ago

    especially when they can often take 4 to 5 of their 7 days just to send you the link to upload the clip, but the stats they publish, although they...

  • David9694 2 hours 7 min ago

    PS On the Eastern Daily Press site, there's a "watch local videos" spinner in most stories, which has various dashcam compilations, including from...

  • Quixotic22 2 hours 50 min ago

    Benefits of this over