'Kill You To Wait...?'

Network Rail has targeted the level crossing in Cosham to warn residents about the dangers of ignoring warning signs, lights and barriers at level crossings.

Ellie Reilly, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “The level crossing at Cosham has up to 220 trains per day passing through at speeds of up to 70mph. We held this event to highlight the often tragic consequences which could result from taking risks at level crossings. It is both incredibly dangerous and illegal to swerve under or around barriers or ignore warning lights and signs, and we hope that by understanding the consequences, people who currently misuse the level crossing will act more responsibly."

The level crossing at Cosham experiences frequent misuse by motorists and pedestrians. Examples of this dangerous and illegal behavior over the last five years include:

  • Youths lifting the barriers or tampering with the equipment
  • Vehicles striking the barriers while trying to swerve around them
  • Pedestrians attempting to cross after the lights have started flashing and barriers coming down, and on numerous occasions being caught on the crossing
  • Children playing chicken on the level crossing

The awareness event was part of Network Rail’s ongoing Don’t Run the Risk campaign which aims to combat level crossing misuse. It was organised by Network Rail’s dedicated community safety team, in partnership with Portsmouth City Council, British Transport Police, South West Trains and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Throughout the morning the team monitored the crossing and spoke with more than 900 motorists and pedestrians about misuse and offered advice and information on how to stay safe on the railway. Leaflets were also handed out that spell out the chilling truth that taking a chance at a level crossing might be the last thing you do, and pose the question: ‘would it kill you to wait?’.

Inspector Mick Morriss of the BTP said: “Some people are prepared to put their life and the safety of other innocent people at risk just to save time at level crossings. The majority of drivers and pedestrians respect the warning lights and barriers at level crossings but a small minority are still prepared to run the risk to shave a few of minutes off their journey time. This sort of impatience is very dangerous and we are working closely with Network Rail and other partners in the rail industry to address the problem.”