So­lar-pow­ered horns aim to make cross­ings safer

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Spotlight On Rail - By El­lis Stephenson

A new sys­tem has been brought in to im­prove safety and pre­vent fur­ther tragedies at some of the county’s level cross­ings.

Net­work Rail has in­stalled a so­lar-pow­ered de­vice which makes the sound of a train’s horn when it senses car­riages ap­proach­ing.

The sys­tem, which gives two warn­ings in case the first can­not be heard, has been im­ple­mented at foot­path cross­ings in Whit­stable, Tanker­ton, Len­ham and Ayles­ford.

It fol­lows the death of Sacha Wheeler, who was listening to mu­sic on head­phones when she was hit by a train at a foot­path cross­ing in Whit­stable in 2015.

The tragedy prompted Net­work Rail to over­haul safety mea­sures at the no­to­ri­ous cross­ing, where four peo­ple have been killed in five years.

In a sep­a­rate case, sig­nal­man Doug Cad­dell was left un­con- scious and suf­fered a brain in­jury when a car crashed into the road gate he was clos­ing at a level cross­ing in East Far­leigh in 2015.

Net­work Rail is fac­ing court ac­tion, and pre­vi­ously pleaded not guilty to two charges in­volv­ing Health and Safety breaches.

South east route man­ag­ing di­rec­tor John Hal­sall said: “Level cross­ings re­main the big­gest source of risk on the rail net­work.

“We want ev­ery­one who lives or works near the rail­way to be safe, which is why we’re in­vest­ing in a va­ri­ety of projects to im­prove level cross­ing safety as part of our Rail­way Up­grade Plan.

“This in­volves ma­jor in­vest­ments such as new foot­bridges as well as a range of smaller yet ef­fec­tive im­prove­ments, such as new technology, which also help re­duce risk and save lives.”

A safety alert sys­tem in use

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