Express & Star

Watch: Van driver drags level crossing barrier in one of several shocking incidents this month

A van driver ripping a barrier out and dragging it behind his vehicle is just one of several shocking clips caught at level crossings in the West Midlands.


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Network Rail released clips of three incidents in which drivers and pedestrians put their lives at risk by forcing their way over crossings as barriers descended, or were already down to block road traffic.

Shockingly, all three different incidents occurred this month, and are 'just a handful' of examples of dangerous behaviour from across the region.

The first clip shows a van ignoring the signals and lowering barriers, ripping down the level crossing barrier and dragging it across the crossing at Blakedown, between Kidderminster and Stourbridge, on March 18.

The second shows a pedestrian forcing their way through the closed barriers on March 13, at Hartlebury, just south of Kidderminster, while the third clip shows a car ignoring the signals and crossing the other side of the road to quickly dodge the closing barriers on March 4, at Langley Green, near Oldbury.

60 cases of misuse have been either reported by train drivers or caught on hidden cameras in the region since January 2024, with four of those considered 'near misses' involving pedestrians.

Over the last 12 months, there have been 225 reported cases of misuse with 27 of these classed as 'near misses'.

A van damaging a level crossing barrier

The clips have been shared as a safety warning to others over Easter.

In the run up to the holidays, Network Rail has seen an increase in the number of incidents being reported with a large number involving children and young people.

Level crossing managers from Network Rail have issued a letter to local schools to highlight the dangers and implications of railway misuse, and to seek the support of parents, guardians and the local community to help address the issues.

Natalie Stretton, head of operational risk for Network Rail's Central route, said: "There’s never any excuse for the kind of reckless behaviour you see in this video. Many people, especially young people, fail to understand the danger they put themselves and others in when they make the choice to ignore the safety rules.

"Typically we see incidents of misuse and acts of crime rise in April due to the better weather and lighter nights, and I’d like to use this video as a reminder to anyone who uses level crossings to do so safely.

"No matter how well you think you know a crossing, all users must obey the rules around using level crossings every time they use it. It just really isn’t worth the risk."