Safety at level crossings

Level crossings are a significant source of risk on the UK's transport networks. Although the number of accidental deaths at level crossings has decreased in recent years, nine people died in 2012-13. Every one of those deaths was a personal tragedy which could have been averted. We recommend that the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), which is responsible for rail safety, adopt an explicit target of zero fatalities at level crossings from 2020. Calculating which level crossings are the most risky is complex but we estimate that there may be many hundreds of crossings which exceed Health and Safety Executive guidance on the acceptable level of fatality risk to the public. Network Rail should be more transparent about its assessment of risk at level crossings and its plans for closures and improvements. We also recommend that Network Rail continue to employ level crossing managers to focus on improving safety. We are concerned that the ORR may not have enough appropriately qualified and experienced staff to provide adequate inspection of the rail network or to adequately challenge Network Rail's signalling work plans. The ORR board should consider whether just seven professionally-qualified signalling engineers is an adequate number of staff to provide inspections nationally, both of existing installations and proposed works. The ORR must improve its grip on overseeing how Network Rail identifies and deals with the riskiest level crossings. We also make recommendations about a number of detailed matters including driver training, teaching schoolchildren about rail safety, the legal framework for level crossings, road signage and whistleblowing in the rail industry.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: various files
  • Serial:
    • Issue Number: HC 680

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01522058
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Apr 15 2014 10:53AM