Nexus has launched a new campaign to promote the safe use of Metro level crossings, with guides sent to 28,000 homes reminding people of key safety guidelines for drivers and pedestrians.
Nexus wants to reduce the number of incidents of misuse. There has not been an actual collision on a Metro level crossing since June 2010, but too often people are crossing in the path of moving trains.
The campaign urges drivers to be aware when approaching a level crossing and to be prepared to stop when the red lights are flashing. It is only safe to cross once the lights have gone out.
Pedestrians are urged to stop, look and listen for approaching trains and never to get distracted near a crossing by using a mobile phone or by listening to music on headphones.
Nexus Level Crossing Manager, Mike Bennett, said: “We want drivers and pedestrians to use Metro level crossings correctly and safely at all times. This new campaign spells out the safety messages very clearly and will reach almost 30,000 households.
“Although we haven’t seen a collision for nearly two years we want to raise safety awareness in order to reduce crossing misuse that always carries that risk of a serious accident taking place.
“People often don’t appreciate the danger they put themselves in if they don’t use a Metro level crossing correctly. A train cannot swerve to avoid a car or a person. The public need to be alert when approaching a level crossing. By staying alert you will stay safe.”
The safety campaign leaflets have been sent to homes within a one mile radius of all five Metro crossings north of the Tyne, at Callerton Parkway, Bank Foot, Kingston Park, Fawdon and Howdon.
Nexus staff have also visited schools to talk to children about staying safe around Metro tracks, including when they are using level crossings.
The level crossings on the Metro system are open crossings. They have no barriers or gates. Road traffic signs are provided at these crossings. They are also protected by flashing red light ‘stop’ signals and an audible alarm.
In recent years Nexus has installed GATSO red-light safety cameras at its Callerton Parkway level crossing in Newcastle to help get tough with careless motorists who risk their lives by driving through red ‘stop’ lights when Metro trains are approaching.
Cameras at the Bank Foot and Kingston Park level crossings are soon to be commissioned. The images obtained from the cameras can be used by police to prosecute drivers who break the law.