Translink today released footage of a car smashing into railway gates in Coleraine.
At one minute into the camcorder film, the barriers are coming down at the Coleraine level crossing at Railway Road to allow a train to arrive at the station.
A red car drives from the left of the screen attempting to ‘beat the barrier’ but smashes into it causing significant damage. The driver was prosecuted using evidence from the CCTV.
The footage was released as Translink NI Railways revealed its annual prosecution figures for safety-related incidents across the rail network.
During 2015, 36 individuals were prosecuted for incidents including trespass, failure to observe a warning system (flashing lights at level crossings) and bridge strikes, at a cost to offenders of £7,500.
To remind pedestrians and motorists to avoid risk taking around near railway tracks and level crossings, a new outdoor and radio advertising campaign is currently live around the rail network with the messaging ‘Don’t’ try to beat the barrier’ and ‘Never use the tracks as a shortcut’.
Richard Knox, Head of Network Operations, Translink, said, “So far this year, we have been receiving reports of serious risk-taking around the network.
“We have encountered a number of bridge strikes throughout the network, by lorries or high sided vehicles. These can result in delays to services and passengers as once reported, our engineers have to ensure that the bridge is safe for trains to operate over. If a line needs to close while structural repairs are carried out, bus substitutions are put in place at significant cost to us and inconvenience to our passengers, so we will always pursue offenders.
“We are also working with licenced vehicle operators, in partnership with the Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association, to help them to educate their drivers on the safe use of level crossings. Some of the risky behaviours we have encountered in the past year include drivers attempting to beat the barriers as they descend or failing to stop in time, causing significant damage to barrier arms and crossing equipment.
“We would take this opportunity to remind motorists and pedestrians that we have CCTV at the majority of our crossings and all of our trains have front facing cameras. This means we can easily identify those who take risks by working closely with the PSNI and local communities.”