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Risk at level crossings – an RSSB overview

7 March 2014  •  Author: RSSB

Following today’s publication of the Transport Committee’s ‘Safety at level crossings’ report, RSSB has collated and issued some safety performance data, to help understanding of the nature of the risk.

RSSB is the independent not-for-profit body which supports the rail industry working together to understand risk, guide standards, drive research and innovation, and improve performance, and this includes support to manage the risk at level crossings.

Britain’s level crossings are among the safest in Europe, second only to Luxembourg (with a rail network of 274km and 142 level crossings, compared to 32,000km in Britain and over 6,300 level crossings).

The level crossings on the national mainline rail network see over 60 billion train kilometres every year, and in the current financial year to the end of March 2014 (so far) there have been 7 accidental fatalities at crossings, and 12 collisions between road vehicles and trains at crossings. 9 people (4 pedestrians and 5 road vehicle occupants) died in accidents at level crossings in 2012/13.

There is evidence of long-term reductions in risk at level crossings. Details of all the data published by RSSB on level crossing safety can be found in the most recent Annual Safety Performance Report which was published in June 2013, in particular chapter 9 of the report.

RSSB said: ‘The Committee’s report identifies issues around the way Network Rail dealt with events in the past. Network Rail has apologised unreservedly and is committed to improvement, and we support them. The role of RSSB is to collate and analyse data to support the industry in making good decisions, but we never forget that behind every piece of data can be a personal tragedy. RSSB supports the industry in embedding a risk-based approach and through research provides the evidence base to improve level crossing safety.’

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