Rail camera to trap red light drivers

NETWORK Rail has installed safety cameras at a level crossing on the outskirts of Littlehampton where damage estimated at £500,000 was caused to a train when a Land-Rover was abandoned on the track in the late 1990s.

The automatic camera, triggered by approaching trains, captures images of any motorists who breach the barrier lines after the red warning lights are on. It uses number plate recognition technology and the footage can be used to prosecute.

The Toddington crossing has 198 trains per day passing at a speed of 70 miles per hour.

Darren Furness, of Network Rail, said: “As part of our plans to make level crossings safer, we are installing cameras across the network to encourage safer driving and reduce the risk of a potentially fatal collision with a train. With the railway network and road traffic only getting busier, we need to do all we can to deter people from taking a risk which could result in a nasty collision.”

No one was injured when the Land-Rover, being pursued by police, was abandoned on the Toddington Crossing, but a train arriving seconds later hit the vehicle and was extensively damaged.

And in 2009, track worker Andy Pearson was honoured by rail chiefs for preventing a disaster when a car was stranded on the crossing.