Wirral’s level crossings were the focus of British Transport Police’s activity earlier this week.
BTP joined with Network Rail, the Office of Rail Regulation, and Merseyside Police as well as teachers from Wallasey School, to educate drivers and pedestrians and speak to local people about issues at the crossings.
The days of action, on Tuesday and Wednesday, saw officers visit crossings in and around Leasowe and Hoylake.
PC Wendy Simpson, of BTP’s Wirral Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
“Level crossings can be extremely dangerous when people take risks.
“The barriers and lights are there for a reason – to keep people safe and to show when the crossing should not be used.
“If motorists and pedestrians take note of the warnings and adhere to the correct use of the crossings they should remain safe.
“If however someone tries to sneak through as the lights are flashing or the barriers are coming down then they run the risk of being struck by a train.
“The gates and phones at user-operated crossings are there for a reason. When the phones are not used the motorist is taking a real risk with their own safety.
“When gates are not closed after use the risk passes to others – particularly children – who may stray onto the railway without realising the dangers.”
BTP and Network Rail use the days of action to educate people about the dangers of crossing misuse and to take action against those who insist on taking unnecessary and illegal risks.
PC Simpson added: “We spoke to lots of people during the day and, thankfully, most were already aware of the need to use crossings correctly.”
Network Rail general manager Wayne Menzies said:
“Level crossings pose the greatest risk to railway safety, which is why we work with British Transport Police and other organisations to raise awareness of the dangers.
“Misuse can also cause damage to level crossing equipment, which in turn costs money to repair and results in delays to trains that can lead to missed connections, missed appointments and general frustration for passengers.”