A man had a lucky escape on a footpath level crossing in East Yorkshire, thanks to his dog.
The near-miss incident happened in Cottingham earlier this month at the Snuff Mill Lane crossing.
Up to 80 trains a day pass the crossing at speeds of up to 70 mph. The man was wearing headphones and did not hear the warning or pay attention to the signs.
He walked onto the crossing as the train approached at 65 mph. The driver blew the horn and put the brakes into emergency while blowing the horn continuously. The man did not react and continued to walk over the level crossing, around 6 feet from the train, the dog pulled on the lead which caused the man to stop.
It can take trains the length of 20 football pitches to stop, even with the emergency brake applied. A warning device was fitted to the crossing in 2018 to mimic the sound of a train horn to alert pedestrians and cyclist that a train is approaching.
Network Rail and Northern have issued advice on how to use a level crossing safely:-
- Concentrate – it’s easy to get distracted, especially by music, phones and conversation.
- Stop, look and listen. Follow signs and instructions.
- Check both ways before crossing – if there is a train coming, don’t cross.
- Understand the warnings (lights, barriers, alarms).
- Cross quickly, keeping children close and dogs on a lead.
Richard Hayden, Level Crossing Manager for Network Rail, said: “This incident at Snuff Mill Lane level crossing is shocking, and it’s clear the pedestrian was not paying attention and did not hear the warnings. The consequences could have been fatal if it wasn’t for the man’s dog pulling on the lead.
“We have carried out work at this crossing to improve safety, but it’s crucial that people stop, look and listen. They should concentrate and cross quickly and directly when it is safe to do so. It’s easy to get distracted by music, and the safest option is to remove your headphones when approaching level crossings.”
Steve Hopkinson, Regional Director at Northern, said: “The rail industry is working closely together to educate people about how to use crossings safely.
“It is only through good fortune – and a very alert dog – that we were not left dealing with tragic circumstances in this incident. It is vital that everyone respects the railway and follows guidance and advice to stay safe.”
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