ORR brings in new level crossing rules to speed up safety improvements

The Office of Rail and Road has introduced new guidance to allow for improvements at level crossings to be made without the need to be approved by a new level crossing order.

Therefore, changes such as altering the number of lights on barriers, using a verbal warning alarm when another train is approaching, and upgrading obstacle detection equipment can now be done without the need to go through the level crossing order process.

ORR says it has also made the level crossing orders guidance clearer, providing information relevant to local authorities so that those outside the rail industry understand what they need to do. It adds that, alongside the guidance, new templates will encourage greater innovation where appropriate.

Level crossing orders were introduced in the 1950s to allow the Secretary of State for Transport to permit the introduction of new technology, such as barriers, at level crossings. ORR manages the process on behalf of the Department for Transport.

“With more than 7,000 level crossings in Britain, there is no one size fits all approach to safety, every level crossing is different, and it is important we continue to improve their safety for all users,” commented ORR’s HM Chief Inspector of Railways, Ian Prosser CBE. “Level crossing orders play an important role but is right they’re now brought into the 21st century so that those who run them can innovate and improve the safety of level crossings without the need to go through the process of obtaining a new Order.”

ORR has also been working with the Department for Transport and Network Rail to develop a new set of signs for use at private level crossings to make them clearer and fit for purpose so that they clearly convey information to the user on the safe operation of the crossing.

(Picture – ORR)


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