Belfast Telegraph

Taxi driver cheats death at level crossing

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

This is the moment when a taxi driver risked his life – and that of others – by driving through a level crossing with a speeding train just seconds away.

The dangerous manoeuvre happened at the William Street level crossing in Lurgan and was captured on CCTV.

Footage shows the silver car exiting a junction and turning towards the crossing before making a gradual stop as the driver becomes aware of the barriers moving, indicating an approaching train. The red taxi then comes zooming down the main road, approaching the silver car from behind.

With the moving barriers in clear view, it swerves around the waiting silver car before overtaking it on the right-hand side.

But, the most shocking moment of all comes when the red taxi speeds under the moving barriers across the railway track in an attempt to beat the barrier.

The red taxi manages to make a lucky escape before the train arrives.

Translink general manager Mal McGreevy said: "Irresponsible behaviour at level crossings could have fatal consequences – not only are these motorists and pedestrians putting themselves at serious risk, but they are endangering everyone on board the approaching train."

It is understood that the railway line which runs right through the busy town has posed problems of traffic congestion for many years.

Local councillors took the issue to Stormont and members of the DRD are due to make a visit soon to find a solution. But, according to recent figures, it is risky acts like this one captured on camera which represent almost half of all prosecutions made by Translink over the past year.

It was revealed that the company has taken action against 76 safety-related incidents on the rail network with fines totalling more than £9,000 over the past 12 months.

The railway track between Coleraine and Londonderry is the place where most recorded incidents of misuse by motorists and private crossing users take place.

But Translink said there had been a notable reduction in incidents there, probably due to the fact the line was closed for eight months to allow for an upgrade.

Mr McGreevy added: "Since the line reopened, there have been 16 incidents of motorists attempting to beat the barrier at Castlerock, and all of them may face prosecution."

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