Level playing field


Train meet Car. Car meet Train. There will only be one winner. The train. Yet people in cars, and more alarmingly pedestrians, are being seen to risk their own lives on a regular basis. As the video in this BBC News story testifies. A few days earlier grieving relatives and parents, criticized Network Rail for their ongoing campaign alerting people to the dangers of misusing level crossings. Claiming that as more people die on level crossings than in accidents then they must be unsafe. Whilst there may well be one or two tragic accidents occurring per year the rest of the casualties seem to be risk takers simply running out of luck.

Network Rail identifies level crossings as, “high risk" something that any rational road user should do as well. Yet the frustrations at having to wait seem to play on many people to such an extent that they then attempt to outrun a train. Imagine if there were no barriers, how many deaths would there be on the railways, and who would be liable? The railway company. Why? Because they had failed in their duty to protect their customers. Yet due to the apparent  rise in the lemming type mentality of many road users (2,000+ per year) Network Rail, and ultimately us, may well find ourselves paying for the installation of bridges and overpasses. This knee jerk reaction would be welcomed by the RMT, (a sure sign that it’s unwarranted).

If Network Rail’s attempts to educate the uneducated about how to properly stop at a red flashing light because there’s over 250 tonnes (or 12,500 tonnes of force, if travelling at 50mph) fail, then the only people who are to blame are those that ignore the warnings. Risk is inherent in life, you can either lessen your exposure to it, or you can raise it. The railways realise that they can reliably protect their customers using these methods. It is up to road users to protect themselves from the elevated risk of taking on a train.