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Danger crossing highlighted for safety upgrade

By Andrew Dixon

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Bunchrew level crossing
Bunchrew level crossing

A LEVEL crossing in Inverness-shire — branded as a potential death trap by locals — has been recommended for an upgrade.

Government agency, Rail Accident Investigation Branch, states Network Rail should improve safety at the ungated Bunchrew crossing, which has been a cause for concern for local motorists for years, due to several reported incidents of faulty signals — by fitting barriers or using other measures.

In May 2008 Graeme MacMillan, an employee of Network Rail, survived an accident on the crossing which caused his car to flip over after it was hit by a train.

There were another nine reported incidents at the crossing from 1998 to January 2010.

The rail investigator says the Bunchrew crossing has a greater chance of seeing an accident between a train and a vehicle, alongside several others in the Highlands, in a report published today.

."Special consideration should be given to those 32 crossings with an enhanced likelihood of a road vehicle and train collision," states the report.

"Network Rail should immediately implement a programme to upgrade the highest risk automatic open crossings.

"Upgrades should consist of fitting barriers, or other measures delivering an equivalent or improved level of safety."

Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch SNP MSP Dave Thompson welcomed the report after highlighting the dangers of level crossings which do not have a barriers since 2007.

"This is an extremely positive development in my long-running campaign for the addition of barriers at level crossings to help end the appalling toll of accidents at this hazardous type of crossing," he said.

"I, therefore, look for immediate action from Network Rail to implement the recommendations of this important report which will vastly increase the safety of Highland level crossings."

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