Peterborough level crossing warning

Network Rail is warning drivers to stop speeding through level crossings around Peterborough as the barriers are coming down.

Last year a taxi driver taking five children to school was jailed for six months for running the red lights at the Helpston crossing.

Network Rail's been holding an education and awareness day in the village. British Transport Police say they had to speak to several drivers who ignored the warning lights and drove across whilst trains were approaching - whilst officers were on the scene.

Richard Pedley, Network Rail’s community safety manager for the Peterborough area, said: “Every day more than 300 trains travel through the crossings around Peterborough at speeds of up to 125 miles per hour. All too often we see motorists playing Russian roulette with a 200 tonne train – and tragically some lose their lives gambling at level crossings by running red lights or dodging around barriers.

“I’m confident that lives will be saved if motorists learn how to safely use level crossings from the day they pass their test. Our campaign is raising awareness of the very real dangers of running the risk but we think more can be done to change motorists’ behaviour.”

Spokesman Russell Spink says there are a third more trains running than 10 years ago - so drivers do have to wait longer.

"It does mean the barriers will be down for longer and people will get frustrated..If we were to start from scratch we wouldn't be putting level crossings in at all - they're a bit of a relic from a by gone era, most of them were built in Victorian times or early this century when there were far fewer trains, and far fewer cars - if any at all."

Russell says they are trying to get rid of crossings - but that will take a while:

"We do monitor each of our crossings closely and where we do think the number of cars using the road is at too high a level we will look to put in bridges or underpasses - but obviously these things cost money and take time.

"There are roughly 6 and a half thousand level crossings in Britain...at the moment we're closing about 30 a year. We want to continually reduce the number.

"Although level crossings are safe when used correctly, we can't always legislate for drivers' behaviour and their stupidity."

You can watch a video of one driver's very near miss after driving through the barriers by clicking here.

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