Network Rail and Southeastern are appealing to drivers in Kent to pay attention after there were 13 instances of people running flashing lights and dodging around closing barriers at East Farleigh level crossing in June and July – culminating in four incidents in four days.
Registration numbers are being taken, with details being passed to the police for action.
Network Rail’s route director for Kent, Fiona Taylor, said: “I can’t believe I’ve got to say this, but the flashing red lights are there for a reason, safety. There’s no excuse for not paying attention to them and the fact that some drivers are even swerving round closing barriers – when a train is on its way – is just astonishing.
“They’re not only putting themselves and others at risk but also getting a fine and points on their licences.”
British Transport Police Inspector Jonathan Pine, who is embedded in Network Rail’s crime team in Kent and Sussex, said: “We take these incidents very seriously and we will prosecute anyone who runs through our level crossing lights. There are no circumstances where it is safe to go past flashing red lights and anyone who has dealt with the aftermath of an accident on a level crossing knows how terrible the results will be.”
Southeastern and Network Rail joint head of performance, Dan Tall, said: “We are appealing to car and lorry drivers to respect the red lights at level crossings, they are there for a reason – to protect drivers and to protect our railway colleagues. This also has a serious knock-on effect for our passengers as we are seeing trains being delayed as a result of this dangerous behaviour.”
The crossing, on the line between Maidstone and Paddock Wood, has flashing lights and full barriers and is controlled by a signaller in the nearby signalbox. The road links the main A26 Tonbridge Road to the medieval, single carriageway, East Farleigh bridge.
The crossing was upgraded to the current system in 2019 and is pictured in this release as it was before, with manual crossing gates.