Latest Rail News


Legislation proposed to close level crossings

A new procedure should be created to close level crossings, the Law Commission has proposed. In a joint report, the Law Commission for England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission call for the safety regime around level crossings to be improved.

The report recommends clarifying the law relating to rights of way across railways and bringing level crossings into the general Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, with special provision for level crossings plans to be made “when it is desirable to do so”.

Current legislation, the Level Crossings Act 1983 provides “inflexible and unresponsive orders” to closing crossings, the commissions found.

Frances Patterson QC, lead commissioner at the Law Commission, said: “These reforms will, if adopted by Government, make for a more efficient safety system for level crossings. It will also allow Network Rail to go further than they already have in closing as many level crossings as possible, reducing costs on both the railway and road networks.”

Dr Andrew Steven, lead commissioner at the Scottish Law Commission, said: “Our recommendations provide a new legal framework for level crossings in Great Britain. In relation to Scotland we have sought carefully to draw a balance between the compelling need for safety on railway lines and the rights of the public to have access over land under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and common law.”

Ian Prosser, director of railway safety at the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), said: “The ORR welcomes the Law Commissions’ proposals to modernise level crossing legislation, which will cut red-tape and make it easier for high-risk crossings to be closed. Great Britain’s level crossings, although among the safest in Europe, pose a significant rail safety risk to the public. That is why we have announced millions of pounds’ worth of extra funds to close or upgrade level crossings over the next five years, and will work to support implementation of improved level crossing laws.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]   


Ricp   26/09/2013 at 00:13

This is not really a realistic proposition. What is needed is a review of safety measures. There is a busy crossing which I use regularly where there is NO EMERGENCY PHONE. Northumberland Park, Lea Valley Line, North London.

Geoff Drucker   30/09/2013 at 08:45

I am Managing Director of Emergency Warning Systems (EWS) and Australian company that has patented alert technology that reaches vehicle radios and over-broadcasts an alert message. This is a cost effective way for drivers to be alerted as a train approaches a level crossing. The broadcast can be limited to the roads leading to the level crossing and controlled to broadcast a short distance from the crossing, enough to alert a driver to take care.

Add your comment

Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >