Wednesday 19 January 2022
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Nottingham

Handstands on the track – shocking footage shows deliberate level crossing misuse in Nottinghamshire

Network Rail has today (29 November) released CCTV footage which shows serious misuse of a level crossing in Attenborough in Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire.

The footage – which includes two teenage girls doing hand stands on the track – was captured at Nature Reserve level crossing in Attenborough, where trains travel on the busy line to and from Nottingham at up to 80mph.

It also shows incredibly dangerous behaviour, including people taking selfies on the railway, laying down on the track for irresponsible photo opportunities or stopping to sit on the crossing – which could have all resulted in fatal or life changing consequences.

Trains cannot stop quickly or swerve out of the way, so it is vital that anyone using a level crossing follows the guidance and crosses quickly, without stopping.

Network Rail is working closely with Nottinghamshire County Council, Broxtowe Borough Council and British Transport Police to encourage people in the area to always use level crossings safely.

A range of activities have taken place in the community to help people understand the dangers of not using level crossings as they are intended. Another community event is taking place at Attenborough Nature Reserve on Friday 17 December, with further awareness days planned in the New Year.

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Miniature Stop Lights – which use a red and green traffic light system to make it clear when it is safe to cross – were installed at Nature Reserve level crossing in 2019.

Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Midlands route, said: “This behaviour at Nature Reserve level crossing is absolutely shocking. The railway is not a photo opportunity and it is never safe to stop or hang around on the tracks.

“The two girls doing handstands are completely oblivious to the dangers they are putting themselves in. This incident could have ended in tragic consequences for them, as well as their friends and family.

“We’ve worked to improve safety at this crossing and will continue to do all we can to keep people safe, but we need to community to work with us. Today we’re joining with Nottinghamshire County Council and Broxtowe Borough Council, as well as British Transport Police, to warn people of the dangers and stop people deliberately misusing level crossings.”

During a recent nine-day census at the crossing2 it was used by the public more than 5,400 times. During that period 22 incidents of what the railway would classify as misuse occurred, 14 of which were people stopping to take photos. 366 “vulnerable” users were also observed. This category does include elderly users, but the majority were wearing headphones, potentially reducing their concentration and ability to hear approaching trains.

Gary Wood, Head of Highways and Transport at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We are committed to working in partnership with Network Rail, the British Transport Police and our District colleagues to tackle any issue relating to public safety.

“It is deeply disturbing that the young people in the video are behaving in a way that could have very serious consequences and I would urge everyone to stop and think about dangers of railway lines.”

Inspector Mark Clements, British Transport Police, said: “The people in this footage are clearly showing a shocking and blatant disregard for their own safety and others. Trespass is a criminal offence it can result in tragic consequences or life-changing injuries. We regularly patrol this area and remind everyone of the importance of taking care around the railway and to not trespass.”

It is crucial that people take extra care to cross quickly and directly, once they’ve checked it is safe:

  • Concentrate – it’s easy to get distracted, especially by phones, music and conversation
  • Stop, look and listen. Follow signs and instructions
  • Check both ways before crossing – if there is a train coming, don’t cross
  • Understand the warnings (signs, lights, barriers, alarms)
  • Cross quickly, keeping children close and dogs on a lead

Network Rail has launched a new rail industry educational programme – Switched On – for children aged 3-16. The interactive resources, created by Hopscotch, have been designed in line with the National Curriculum to help young people make the right decisions and always use the railway safely.

The “Beware of the Bubble” campaign aims to raise awareness of the dangers of distractions such as headphones and mobile phones while using and crossing the railway.

 

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