The dangers of not taking care when using private level crossings on farmland are being highlighted in a graphic safety video.

The virtual reality video – produced by Network Rail in 3D as part of an autumn safety campaign – aims to reduce farm accidents involving trains.

See also: Farmers ‘dicing with death’ on level crossings

It uses 3D effects to show the consequences of a tractor and trailer driver who impatiently crosses the railway line in the path of an oncoming train.

The Network Rail safety campaign – which will run for six weeks – is in partnership with the NFU and supported by Farmers Weekly.

Over the past five years, there have been more than 100 near-miss incidents at crossings on farmland and instances of trains striking farm vehicles.

Safe practice

NFU vice-president Guy Smith said: “Many of the accidents and fatalities that we have on farms can be reduced by just observing safe practice.

“That is very true of using level crossings.

“Farmers can minimise and mitigate the risks involved with crossings on their land, which are private for their use, by simply following safe procedure.”

Where a trackside telephone is available, farmers should phone for permission to use the level-crossing, said Mr Smith.

Where there was no phone, they should follow instructions on a board next to the railway so the crossing could be used as safely as possible.

There are about 6,000 level crossings in Britain – a legacy of a railway built 150 years ago when there were fewer and slower trains, and no cars on the road.

Network Rail said it is investing £100m to improve level crossing safety.

The national improvements programme includes investing in closing and upgrading level crossings, alongside a safety awareness campaign aimed at different users.


See Farmers Weekly this Friday (8 September) for full details of the level crossing safety campaign.