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Iarnród Éireann Appeals For All Road Users To Act Safely At Level Crossings As Part Of European Safety Week

25 October 2023

Iarnród Éireann, An Garda Síochána and Road Safety Authority hold network wide morning of activity to raise awareness.

As part of European Safety week, Iarnród Éireann has partnered with An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority to host information days at three level crossings. The focus of these information sessions is to inform and educate road users about the dangers of not acting safely at level crossings. These information mornings took place from 08:45 to 10:15 at the following locations:

  • Lisangry, Limerick
  • Sandymount, Dublin 4
  • Tinare, Ballymahon Longford

Iarnród Éireann has also released footage of incidents at Level Crossings and have appealed for renewed vigilance at level Crossings from all road users including pedestrians, cyclists and E-scooter users.

Year to date there have been 71 incidents at level crossings across the network, of which 30 resulted in crossing damage or injury to crossing user. The majority of level crossing incidents involve road vehicles colliding with crossing gates or barriers-resulting in damage to the crossing/barriers.

The most frequent locations involved in incidents are:

  • Sutton lx (13 incidents)
  • Serpentine (8)
  • Sydney Parade (8)
  • Lansdowne Rd (7)
  • Bray (6)
  • Sandymount (5)
  • Merrion (4)
  • Clonsilla (2)
  • Baldoyle (2)

Iarnród Éireann continues to install additional train detection warning systems at User Operated Level Crossings around the country. These measures have now been introduced at 36 user operated level crossings, with a further four to be commissioned in the coming weeks and have been well received within the communities that are served by them.

There are currently 902 level crossings on the Iarnród Éireann network. These are a combination of automated CCTV crossings, manned crossings and unmanned user operated accommodation crossings.

As part of our network wide Level crossing elimination programme, Iarnród Éireann is working to eliminate as many level crossings as practicable. The company has closed 93 crossings between 2014 and October 2023. A railway order has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála and an oral hearing has been held to eliminate seven level crossings on the Cork Mainline known as the Cork Line Level Crossings Project.

However, the company reminds users of the onus to use crossings responsibly:

  • At automatic crossings: stop safely when the warning lights begin to flash. Never go through crossings when barriers are about to lower or lowering.
  • At staff operated crossings: respect gatekeepers, whose role is to ensure your safety and that of rail users. Stop immediately when the gatekeeper requests it.
  • At user operated crossings: Always stop before crossing to check the line, check the line again after crossing, and always close the gate after use for your safety and that of others.

Almost 300 people die at level crossings across Europe every year and level crossing accidents account for 1% of road deaths in Europe but 31 percent of all rail fatalities. Although Ireland’s record is far stronger than the European average, and there have been no level crossing fatalities since 2010, vigilance is essential and Iarnród Éireann is reminding all road users of this during European Safety Week

Superintendent Seán O’Reardon from Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said:

“Gardaí nationwide work closely in collaboration with Iarnród Éireann to help ensure people’s safety at railway level crossings around the country.

“Level crossings can be dangerous and should always be approached with caution. Never go through a level crossing while warning lights indicate that it is unsafe to do so. There is no chance worth taking.”

Sam Waide, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority said: ’’ The goal of this awareness day is to make all road users aware of the genuine dangers posed because of carelessness at Railway Level Crossings, especially when using those which are unattended. There really is no room for complacency, because if you take risks at level crossings you are gambling with your life and the lives of others.”

Jim Meade, Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann said:

“The number of incidents at level crossings is still too high. In recent months, we have had a number of very worrying incidents and level crossings and we would appeal to all road users to obey the rules of the roads at level crossings. They are for everyone’s safety”

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Line Re-opened between Dundalk and Belfast