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ORR proposes new guidance to reduce level crossing dangers

SIMPLER guidance about level crossing safety is being unveiled by the Office of Rail and Road, to help the rail industry and highways authorities.

There were more than 400 incidents at level crossings last year according to Network Rail, including two collisions between trains and pedestrians and six involving trains and road vehicles, while in spite of many replacement schemes and closures in recent years there are still around 5,800 level crossings on Network Rail lines, plus another 1,500 on minor and heritage railways.

The new guidelines are proposals at the moment, and are intended to improve the way risk assessments are carried out. They will also include ‘practical advice’ on how to identify and manage risks that affect the safety of people who use the crossings.

HM chief inspector of railways Ian Prosser explained: ‘There is no one size fits all approach to safety. Every level crossing is different and risk assessments should take account of the circumstances of each one.

‘The previous guidance did not set standards, but did describe methods of operation, and as such has been perceived as setting requirements for level crossing design.

‘We wanted to change that and these new principles better empower industry to make informed decisions about crossings. These new principles will support a focus on continued improvement in level crossing risk management.’

RSSB principal risk analyst Jay Heavisides said: ‘We welcome the new level crossing guidance principles. They encourage thinking about why level crossing risk occurs and how it could be mitigated.’

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