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Iarnród Éireann urges caution at level crossings as incidents rise by 74%

The company has warned of a number of worrying collisions this year so far.

A car caught at a level crossing, one of several incidents highlighted by Iarnród Éireann in its campaign launched today.
A car caught at a level crossing, one of several incidents highlighted by Iarnród Éireann in its campaign launched today.
Image: Iarnród Éireann

IARNRÓD ÉIREANN HAS appealed for renewed vigilance from the public at level crossings, as a 74% rise in traffic incidents has been recorded. 

The company has also released footage of incidents at level crossings as part of its safety campaign.

There have been 54 incidents at level crossings across the network so far this year, which the company says is up from 31 for the same period last year.

The top ten level crossings where incidents have taken place year to date are predominantly in Dublin, Iarnród Éireann said.

In one, a tractor hauling trailers of bales rushes to make it through moments before the level crossing closes. Another video shows a cyclist trying similar only to collide with the shutting barrier. 

The incidents have been highlighted as railways globally mark International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD).

Iarnród Éireann has partnered with An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority and with several local authorities to host information days at a number of level crossings around the country.

The focus of these information sessions is to inform and educate commercial road users – at both urban and rural locations – about the dangers surrounding level crossings. These information days will take place at: 

  • Barracklands Crossing, Castlebar
  • Knockroghery Crossing, Roscommon
  • Lansdowne Road Crossing, Dublin 

 

There are currently 909 level crossings on the Iarnród Éireann network, a number which has reduced from over 2,000 since the turn of the century.

These are a combination of automated CCTV crossings, manned crossing and unmanned user operated accommodation crossings, including on farmlands. 

The company said it is working to “eliminate as many level crossings as practicable” and has closed 69 level crossings since 2014.

However, the company reminds users of the onus to use crossings responsibly:

  • At automatic crossings: stop safely when the warning lights begin to flash.  Never go through crossings when barriers are about to lower, or 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.
  • At 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.

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Almost 300 people die at level crossings across Europe every year and level crossing accidents account for 1% of road deaths in Europe but 31% of all rail fatalities.

While Ireland’s record is far stronger than the European average, with no level crossing fatalities since 2010, Iarnród Éireann has stressed today that vigilance is essential. 

Jim Meade, chief executive of Iarnród Éireann said there have been a number of “very worrying collisions” at level crossings and that members of the public need to exercise caution.

“The number of incidents at level crossings is still too high. In recent months, we have had a number of very worrying collisions at level crossings and we would appeal to all road users to obey the rules of the roads at level crossings. They are for everyone’s safety,” Meade said.

Chief executive of the RSA, Sam Waide, said there is no room for complacency when it comes to level crossings.

“If you take risks at level crossings you are gambling with your life and potentially others,” he warned.  

The top ten level crossings where incidents have taken place year to date are predominantly in Dublin, as well as one in Co Cork: 

  • Lansdowne road
  • Serpentine Ave
  • Sandymount Ave
  • Sutton
  • Bray
  • Merrion Gates 
  • Baldoyle Road 
  • Coolmine
  • Cosh (between Sutton and Howth)
  • Sydney Parade
  • Banteer (Cork)  

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