Concern that distraction is causing people to misuse level crossing and endanger their lives.

Viaduct near Penistone

Reporter's concern

  • Passengers are walking across Penistone foot crossing in front of trains leaving the station.
  • There have been several near misses where the driver has had to sound their horn at people crossing. The reporter believes this behaviour is driven by distraction (from headphones), complacency and an expectation that the train could stop.

They asked Network Rail to assess the risk and suggest interim and long-term actions.

Network Rail's response

  • Anyone disregarding warning signs is deliberately misusing the crossing (a criminal offence).
  • The distance between the approaching train and the crossing provides enough time for someone to cross. There are also whistle boards on both approaches to the station – train drivers sound the horn at these as an audible warning.
  • We will install new signage warning users not to cross in front of trains at the platform.
  • There will be a nine-day census to get a better picture of crossing use.
  • Both crossing approaches will have chicanes, and gates to stop users walking off the platforms and walkways straight onto the crossing. 
  • Stop markings will be painted on the ground at decision points, possibly with yellow hatching painted over the crossing to highlight the danger zone.
  • We will discuss long-term solutions, including a footbridge. If the land beside the station becomes a park and ride, as proposed by South Yorkshire Transport, we will ask for a bridge as part of the planning acceptance so the crossing could be closed.

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