Správa železniční dopravní cesty (SŽDC) invests approximately CZK 1 billion per year to better safeguard of all types of railway crossings. Every year, the level of safeguarding gets better at approximately 150 level crossings. Due to serious collisions caused by inobservance of road traffic rules by its participants, SŽDC also currently re-evaluates regulations for the preparation of further constructions related to increasing safety at railway crossings.
From the mid-term point of view, the number of collisions at railway crossings is decreasing thanks to extensive investment activities conducted by SŽDC, although the number of registered road cars is increasing as well as equipment and devices diverting the attention of drivers (mobile phones, navigation etc.).
“Our main priority is completing or installing barriers to railway crossing signalling equipment on roads of Category I, II. and III and on local and purpose-created road communications anywhere where it is technically feasible, advisable and all participants of the building licence procedure can agree on it”, explained Mr Jiří Svoboda, Director General of SŽDC. At the end of last year, 117 crossings out of a total number of 164 on roads of Category I were equipped with barriers. Up to the end of this year, 15 more should be added and the majority of the remaining ones should get barriers up to the end of 2023. In some cases, adding barriers is not possible for technical or capacity reasons; this may also concern a line where railway operation is practically not active.
All crossings under reconstruction where tracks cross asphalt roads will be newly equipped not only with light warning signals but also with barriers. “A price analysis demonstrates that the financial difference between crossings with barriers and without them equals 10 - 15% of total investments which is quite acceptable considering the important contribution in safety from the all-society point of view”, added Mr Svoboda. Composite barriers with modern and durable reflexive components will be used for equipping railway crossings.
Every year, SŽDC prepares preventive events pointing out the need to observe road traffic regulations in the vicinity of railway crossings. For the holiday months this year, it prepared videos reiterating the rules for a safe railway. These also contain photographs from real accidents; one of them is focused on consequences caused by inattention of a road car driver in the vicinity of a railway crossing. The videos can be found on the website: https://www.szdc.cz/o-nas/bezpecnost/kampan-szdc-bezpecna-zeleznice.
As of 31 December 2018, the Czech railway network had 7,858 railway crossings in total, from which 3,720 were safeguarded by St. Andrew’s crosses and 4,138 were equipped with light and sound signalling (from which 1,418 moreover with barriers). 164 railway crossings were situated on roads of Category I, 570 on roads of Category II and 1,466 on roads of Category III. Further 1,774 level crossings are situated on local roads and 3,884 on purpose-created roads.