VIDEO: Warning over Norfolk level crossing near misses

At least 90 people risked their lives in near misses with trains at level crossings in Norfolk last year, new figures have revealed.

Network Rail says people are putting their lives and those of others on the line by jumping lights and swerving around barriers at at the county's crossings.

There were 89 reports of misuse at level crossings in Norfolk and rail bosses say that is just the tip of the iceberg, with the true figure likely to be much higher.

This is the first year the company has broken down misuse county by county, but the number of drivers involved in near misses with trains at level crossings jumped national by 15pc in 2010.

In Norfolk, the level crossings at Tennyson Avenue in King's Lynn and at Black Mill Lane in Great Moulton were named as the places with the highest number of incidents.


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There were 10 reports of near misses at Tennyson Avenue and nine at Great Moulton and a campaign has been launched to convince drivers to change their behaviour.

Andrew Munden, Network Rail route director for Anglia, said: 'Too many motorists continue to break the law by jumping the lights or swerving around barriers at level crossings. Hundreds of pedestrians are also risking their lives just trying to save a few seconds. It's just not worth it.

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'Whilst deaths and injuries are thankfully few, the actions of an impatient or ignorant minority cause great cost, delay and disruption to rail and road users across our region.'

There are almost 1,000 level crossings in the Anglia region, which covers Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire as well as parts of Hertfordshire and Greater London.

More than 300 of the crossings are operated by the person wishing to cross the railway and are often on private land – proving a vital link across railway lines for many farmers.

In an effort to highlight the issue of misuse at these crossings Network Rail has joined forces with the British Transport Police (BTP) and the National Farmers Union (NFU) to remind farm workers driving agricultural vehicles of the proper and safe way to use them.

Mr Munden said: 'We have a particular issue in the Anglia region, which has more than 300 user-worked crossings on private land such as farms.

'Teaming up with the NFU is an excellent way for Network Rail and the BTP to get the message out to landowners that they're putting their lives at risk if they misuse level crossings.'

In a new initiative to reduce to reduce disruption at level crossings, cutting-edge camera technology has been introduced as part of a pilot by Network Rail and the British Transport Police across the Wessex, Sussex and Kent rail routes.

A purpose-built marked police van fitted with nine cameras, each of which can use number plate recognition technology to catch drivers, has been used next to level crossings.

If the pilot proves successfully it could be rolled out into places such as Norfolk.

There were 3,446 recorded incidents of level crossing misuse across Britain's national railway network. Four people died as a result.

Visit www.edp24.co.uk to see video of some of the near misses.

dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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