The school children had alerted Network Rail’s local level crossing manager, Phil Caldwell, to loose gravel on the path over the railway, which was becoming tricky to walk over.
Network Rail moved quickly to replace the old path with a smooth tarmac surface, making it easier and safer to cross for pedestrians, cyclists, and those with limited mobility.
Morfa level crossing is the latest in a series of safety and accessibility upgrades across Wales, which are being driven by Network Rail and BTP’s engagement with local schools, councils, and community groups.
Nearly 50 level crossings in North Wales have already received safety and accessibility improvements since a level crossing safety enhancement scheme was launched three years ago. Improvements include new gates, new safety signs, fencing improvements, and footpath resurfacing.
Network Rail and BTP travel the country teaching children about railway safety and supporting schools in delivering interactive and engaging lessons.
The pupils at Ysgol Tan-Y-Castell, in particular, have been focussing more on railway safety since year 5 pupil, Paige Kelly, had a near-miss with a train, in 2021.
Nine-year-old Paige Kelly who lives in Harlech has shared her story with Network Rail to help raise awareness of the real dangers of level crossing misuse.
Paige shared her story with Network Rail to encourage others to be more vigilant at level crossings.
Anwen Williams, Headteacher at Ysgol Tan Y Castell, commented: “It’s fantastic to see Network Rail improving the level crossings in Harlech and prioritising the safety of our pupils and local community.
“Network Rail and BTP are brilliant with the children when they come to visit the school and really make them feel like their ideas to improve safety are listened to. Many of our children use the level crossing every day and, of course, what happened to Paige last year really shook us.
“Educating them on railway safety is one of our top priorities as teachers, parents, and a community and we do feel very supported with that.”
Philip Caldwell, Level Crossing Manager at Network Rail, added: “There are more than 480 pedestrian level crossings in Wales. Our job is to ensure they are safe and accessible to use, while also educating the community on railway safety.
“It’s been great to see the school children at Tan-Y-Castell really engaging with Network Rail, BTP, and their schoolteachers on the importance of level crossing safety. It’s been a pleasure bringing them along on the journey with us to boost safety and accessibility on a route they use every day to get to school.”
Joe Patton, former Community Councillor in Harlech, is a continuous support to Network Rail and the community, regularly reporting any safety issues he spots.
He said: “Harlech is a small, close-knit community and we pride ourselves on working closely with Network Rail and BTP on educating and improving safety on the railway, which runs through the centre of our town.
“During my working life in Health and Safety, I can honestly say I’ve never seen such a positive reaction from the community towards safety improvements.
BTP Sergeant Emma Harper said: “We see hundreds of people taking risks on and around the railway every year, resulting in tragic consequences or life-changing injuries.
“After a recent near-miss incident at the crossing involving the young girl, it was vital we came together as partners to educate the community on safety around the railway.
“Our officers dedicated patrols at the crossing and met with parents and children from the local school to talk about the importance of taking care when using level crossings. It’s been fantastic to see how well-received this joint work has been by the community.”