Translink NI Railways has warned owners of private railway crossings, or ‘user worked crossings’, to take care this Autumn as darker evenings can lead to reduced visibility for crossing users.
Keith Pollock, Level Crossing Risk Coordinator with NI Railways said:
“The weather has been relatively poor this summer and we recognise that farmers are working around the weather patterns and to tight deadlines to gather their harvest, however we would encourage user worked crossings users to put a safe system in place when using their crossings and to stick to it.
“In terms of the numbers of rail services operating on our rail network, we want to remind the owners of user worked crossings that Translink’s new Class 4000 trains continue to undergo testing day and night and this practice will continue until the last of the trains is in service in 2012.
“This testing is in addition to our timetabled services. Our new trains are much quieter than our older fleet and will be operating at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.”
Translink NI Railways has been working closely with farmers and landowners around Northern Ireland to maintain high safety levels at user worked crossings and has carried out the installation of CCTV at crossings to detect misuse.
Keith continued, “While the majority of crossing users are very responsible, where misuse exists, we are keen to identify this to prevent future serious incidents.
“Legal action is a last resort for NI Railways, however where there is a demonstrable need, we will identify and prosecute those caught repeatedly taking risks at level crossings.”
“In addition, Translink has been running a programme of crossing closures, working closely with landowners to identify alternative access points. In the past 12 months we have closed 35 crossings and are currently negotiating the closure of a further 12 crossings due to be closed before the end of March 2012.”
“We would encourage farmers to make third party suppliers and contractors operating on their land aware of the risks associated with crossings and share safety critical information with them where appropriate this Autumn.”