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Level crossing incidents 'dramatically' down on last year, but motorists warned to stay vigilant

There are currently 948 level crossings on the Iarnród Éireann network.

Image: Mark Stedman via RollingNews.ie

INCIDENT RATES AT level crossings are dramatically down since last year, Irish Rail has said, but warned people to remain vigilant. 

In 2019, there were 155 incidents at level crossings, the majority of which were barriers being struck by vehicles which continued over the level crossing, even though the barriers were lowering and the warning lights were flashing. 

These incidents can cause significant disruption to rail services, and also place both the road users and rail users at serious risk, Irish Rail warned. 

However, there has been a significant reduction in incidents recorded so far this year, with 32 incidents at level crossings across the network year to date.

Irish Rail said while this is welcome, significantly reduced traffic volume due to Covid-19 restrictions are a major factor in the reduction. 

As restrictions begin to ease, the company is appealing for road users – motorists, pedestrians and cyclists – to be vigilant at level crossings. Irish Rail is making its appeal as it marks Level Crossing Awareness Day. 

There are currently 948 level crossings on the Iarnród Éireann network. These are a combination of automated CCTV crossings, manned crossing and unmanned user operated crossings. 

This is down from over 2,000 crossings at the turn of the century. 

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Irish Rail is today reminding users of the onus of using crossing responsibly: 

  • At automatic crossings, stop safely when the warning lights begin to flash. Never go through crossings when barriers are about to lower or are lowering. 
  • At staff operated crossings, respect gatekeepers, whose role is to ensure your safety and that of rail users. Stop immediately when the gatekeeper requests it. 
  • As user operated crossings, always stop before crossing to check the line, check the line again after crossing, and always close the gate after use for your safety and that of others.

“The number of incidents at level crossings has dramatically reduced in 2020 to date, but we know reduced traffic volumes have contributed to this,” Iarnród Éireann chief executive Jim Meade said. 

“As we start to move around again more, I am appealing to all road users, be they motorists, pedestrians or cyclists to use level crossings safely,” Meade said. 

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