A man who almost stepped in front of a train at a pedestrian crossing near Hull has his dog to thank for saving his life.
The man was wearing headphones when using the footpath level crossing at Snuff Mill Lane in Cottingham, East Yorkshire. He did not hear the warnings, or pay attention to the signs, and walked through the gate, onto the crossing.
The driver of a Northern train that was approaching the level crossing at around 65mph spotted the pedestrian. “I blew my horn and he didn’t react to it and carried on crossing,” the driver said. “I then put the brake into emergency while continuously blowing the horn.”
The man continued to cross and was within six feet of the tracks, about to step onto them, when his dog saw the train approaching and pulled on the lead, which made the man stop.
Richard Hayden, Network Rail level crossing manager, said: “This incident at Snuff Mill Lane level crossing is shocking, and it’s clear the pedestrian was not paying attention and did not hear the warnings. The consequences could have been fatal if it wasn’t for the man’s dog pulling on the lead.
“We have carried out work at this crossing to improve safety, but it’s crucial that people stop, look and listen. They should concentrate and cross quickly and directly when it is safe to do so. It’s easy to get distracted by music, and the safest option is to remove your headphones when approaching level crossings.”
Network Rail carried out work to upgrade Snuff Mill Lane level crossing and improve safety in 2018. A warning device was installed which mimics the sound of a train horn, so pedestrians and cyclists know when a train is approaching. Work has also taken place to improve the surface of the crossing and make the marked areas clearer where people should cross when it is safe to do so.
Even when train drivers pull the emergency brake, it can take up to 2,000 metres before the train comes to a standstill. As well as being unable to stop quickly, trains cannot swerve out of the way, and misusing level crossings could lead to life changing or even fatal consequences.
Steve Hopkinson, regional director at Northern, added: “The rail industry is working closely together to educate people about how to use crossings safely.
“It is only through good fortune – and a very alert dog – that we were not left dealing with tragic circumstances in this incident.
“It is vital that everyone respects the railway and follows guidance and advice to stay safe.”