Monday, 23 May 2011

The Dangers of Level Crossings

I recently spent a day with a team from the British Transport Police in Chiswick. I visited the level crossing in Grove Park Terrace to find out about Operation Galley - London South's initiative to reduce non-compliance at level crossings. Operation Galley involves a specially adapted British Transport Police van, which is able to monitor vehicles and pedestrians crossing the level crossing. I was shown how the operation is conducted, as well as being given a full tour of the newly built vehicle which was sponsored by Network Rail. The new van allows the British Transport Police to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice of 3 points and a fine to drivers, and an on-the-spot fine for pedestrians, who chose to cross the level crossing once the yellow lights are flashing.

I would like to pay tribute to all the hard work that the British Transport Police does in ensuring that our railways are kept safe, both for staff and rail users.

In July last year I was concerned to hear about a bus failing to stop at the level crossing in Bollo Lane, just outside my constituency. Although one passenger was showered with glass when the back window of the bus was broken by the descending barriers, miraculously no serious damage was done. But I am well aware that this was pure chance. Drivers who fail to heed signals at level crossings put not only themselves in danger, but endanger the lives of train passengers also. I therefore very much welcome this new initiative by the British Transport Police and Network Rail to catch and prosecute drivers who do not obey signals at level crossings.

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