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Cameras to stop drivers 'jumping red lights' at mainline level crossing

PUBLISHED: 15:22 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:32 14 January 2020

The level crossing at Mellis on the Norwich to London high speed rail mainline. Picture: Simon Parker

The level crossing at Mellis on the Norwich to London high speed rail mainline. Picture: Simon Parker

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Hi-tech safety enforcement cameras that can identify vehicles jumping red lights are set to be installed at a level crossing where drivers have been killed and seriously injured.

Impression of the column for cameras planned to monitor the railway level crossing at Mellis. Picture: Network RailImpression of the column for cameras planned to monitor the railway level crossing at Mellis. Picture: Network Rail

Network Rail has submitted plans for a camera monitoring system in a bid to improve safety at the level crossing at Mellis on the Norwich to London high speed mainline.

Trains nearing or departing Diss station pass through the level crossing on the Wortham to Yaxley road at Mellis.

Like speed cameras, red light safety enforcement cameras can identify vehicles which jump the lights at level crossings.

Cameras similar to those planned for the Norwich to London line level crossing at Mellis. Picture: Network RailCameras similar to those planned for the Norwich to London line level crossing at Mellis. Picture: Network Rail

Offenders are automatically notified of their offence and face a fine, points on their licence, or can choose to sit a level crossing safety awareness course.

Network Rail proposals include the installation of two 6m high columns, one either side of the crossing.

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The monitoring system will include three cameras: a context camera to provide an overview of the level crossing; an automatic number plate recognition camera; and a camera to monitor the status of the 'wig-wag' red flashing warning lights.

Network Rail's route director for Anglia, Ellie Burrows, said: "This crossing is on the London to Norwich main line where trains travel at high speeds.

"We plan to install red light safety cameras to improve safety and deter drivers from jumping the red lights.

Impression of the column for cameras planned to monitor the railway level crossing at Mellis. Picture: Network RailImpression of the column for cameras planned to monitor the railway level crossing at Mellis. Picture: Network Rail

"Swerving around the barriers or ignoring the warning lights at level crossings is incredibly dangerous and knowing it could result in prosecution is enough to make most drivers think twice."

Concerns about safety at Mellis have been raised in the past. In February 2017 a driver died as a result of being hit by a train in the early hours of the morning. It was the second fatality in two months after Suffolk firefighter Tony Bickers also died at the level crossing.

Rowland Warboys, Mid Suffolk Council ward councillor, who lives in Mellis, said: "Anything that improves safety is to be welcomed. There has been a lot of concerns at the parish council and generally and about the speed of traffic through the village.

"The level crossing does also fail on occasions, so cameras would also help monitor that and help pick up any problems much quicker.

"I haven't seen the formal planning application yet, but I can see no objections to it in principle."

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