Danger of unmanned level crossings highlighted again

Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail ) has appealed to motorists in rural areas to take extreme care at unmanned railway crossings after a postman had a miracle escape when a train struck his van near Ballyvary on Wednesday morning.

The spokesperson for Iarnród Éireann said they had no indication yet as to the cause of the collision but investigations were under way.

The spokesperson said the appeal was instead a “broad warning to the general public”.

Unmanned, unautomated, or manual level crossings are guarded by gates which are manually opened and closed by road users.

“We have had problems in the past where the gates at these crossings are left open, and following road users unwittingly drive through the crossing,” said the spokesperson.

“We appeal to all users of these crossings, for their own safety and the safety of other motorists, to use the crossings with care.”

The train collided with the post van at 9.35am on Wednesday at the Corraun level crossing on the Ballina to Manulla Junction line. The crossing is about two miles outside Ballyvary.

There were six passengers on board the train as well as the train driver, none of whom were injured.

The emergency services were alerted and attended the scene. The van driver was taken to Mayo General Hospital, where he was treated for injuries which were not thought to be life-threatening.

The train passengers were transferred away from the accident scene by road.

In addition to the Iarnród Éireann investigation, the Railway Safety Commission and Rail Accident Investigation Unit have been informed of the accident.

The danger of unmanned level crossings has been highlighted in Mayo in the past. In 2008, the family of Straide man PJ McGowan, who was killed when a train struck his car at a crossing near his home, launched a campaign to have local unmanned crossings upgraded and automated.


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