Posted on June 10, 2014 · Posted in General IRO news, North East

Phil Graham. Level Crossing Risk Specialist, Network Rail gave a very interesting and informative presentation in York on 20th May 2014.

All the 6,500 level crossings on Network Rail are assessed for risk both to users and to the staff and passengers on trains. Of these slightly over 2,000 are located on the LNE / EM Route. Despite the risk of level crossings being the most significant of all risk on the rail network, Network Rail has assessed that overall across Europe only Luxembourg has lower level crossing risks. Crossings are categorised as ‘active’ where the user is controlled by gates, barriers and / or lights, or ‘passive’ where the user is solely responsible for ensuring it is safe to cross.

Risks are assessed using a numeric system (ALCRM) and by ensuring compliance with ORR guidance.

User acts or omissions, whether deliberate or careless, contribute to 93% of the whole risk. Of this 60% is due to pedestrians.

The highest risk crossings are identified and appropriate control measures are, where practicable, applied to control the risk. These measures can include replacement with bridges, or by crossings of higher levels of safety although these options may be expensive, and may fail cost benefit analysis.

Active crossings include automatic half barrier crossings that still carry significant risk from user misuse, and will over time be replaced with safer controlled barrier crossings where closure is not possible.

Passive crossings include many farm, footpath and bridleway crossings, and where practicable closure is the usual aim. This is achieved by buying out rights, or diverting the route and may include replacement by a footbridge or underpass. Local public opinion can be a significant obstacle to this programme where crossings are seen as a civic right.

On LNE Route 5 crossings are in the worst (category 1) risk group, in category 2 there are a further 57 and in category 3 there are 90. there is a definite programme to reduce this risk at these crossings. On LNE in CP5 over £12 million has been allocated specifically to reduce level crossing risk, and there is also level crossing risk reduction incorporated into other schemes. Nationally there is £99m allocated specifically to reduce this risk