Network Rail & BTP

Police operation targets Starbeck level crossing

8 February 2011
Starbeck Crossing
Starbeck Crossing

Starbeck Level Crossing between Harrogate and Knaresborough was today (Tuesday 8 February 2011) the focus of British Transport Police’s (BTP) attention during a second day of action targeting the crossing.

Following a successful operation on 9 November 2010 officers from British Transport Police, North Yorkshire Police and staff from Network Rail were  busy at the level crossing throughout the day aiming to make motorists and pedestrians more aware of level crossings and to educate them to use crossings correctly.

PC Craig Virco heading the operation

Police Constable Craig Virco of BTP, said:

“We undertook a similar operation last November, which resulted in four drivers being summoned to court for failing to conform to traffic signals”

“We also spoke to a number of drivers in relation to other road traffic offences such as not wearing a seatbelt, vehicle condition and waiting on the yellow hatched box areas of the crossing”

“Despite our warnings and enforcement action, motorists continue to risk their lives and the lives of others at the crossing. In the past 12 months we have recorded 45 offences at this crossing, with a spike in offences in the darker and wetter months”

“Incredibly some people are still willing to put their lives on the line by ignoring warning lights and sirens and trying to dash through crossings when trains are approaching”

“Even more dangerously, doing so in the dark and rain when visibility is impaired,” he added.

PC Virco continued, “Education is key to everything we do around level crossings. By informing people of the potential dangers of misusing crossings – and how to use them safely we aim to reduce incidents at these sites”

“We are working closely with Network Rail in the area to improve knowledge and, where necessary, to take action against those who continue to misuse crossings”

“Those who flout the law and ignore the crossing signs can expect action to be taken against them which could be in the form of a fine or points on their driving licence and end up in court.”

Around 70 passenger trains travel through Starbeck Level Crossing every day, with approximately 5,000 vehicles and more than 1250 pedestrians and cyclists using it.

Vicki Smith, Community Safety Manager for Network Rail, added: “It is disturbing that people continue to misuse this crossing.

We understand that waiting can be frustrating, but warnings including lights and barriers at level crossings are there to protect the public from an incredibly busy rail network.

Recklessly ignoring them as a train approaches seriously puts your life and potentially others at risk. We urge people to obey the warnings and not risk their lives or cause costly delays to the network.”

Further images on our Facebook page

A driver who was later advised about his driving

A combined operation with Network Rail

Network Rail & BTP


  1. Will Network Rail and BTP also be looking into the amount of time the barriers are down at this crossing? I have regularly been kept waiting for over 8 minutes here and as someone employed in public transport the knock on effect of this is late running, especially when caught twice on the same trip. The signal box operator certainly doesn’t help. I’m sure that in most cases, a slight delay in lowering the barriers would allow a bus to clear the crossing, with no additional safety implications.

  2. Do you know i have read the piece on the Starbeck crossing and all that people seem to be worried about is HOW LONG THE BARRIER IS DOWN for goodness sake guy’s.. if you travel that way on a regular basis then you should know what times the trains are due… LEAVE EARLIER… and as for the signal box operator .. well he is only following instructions … and safety guidlines… Take a moment to think about this … If you have to wait a meer 8mins then oh dear you may be running late ……….. But if a car van or even a bus runs over the crossing and gets HIT i can’t see you waiting 8 mins can you !!!!!!!!!!!!! try the ROAD CLOSED .. and the how the TRAIN DRIVER is feeling cause he has a vehicle and a body in-bedded in the front of his train……

    • Unfortunately Yvonne, as a scheduled service, we are unable to “leave earlier”, it doesn’t go down well with the passengers. It was noted that while this operation was in progress that the barriers were down for significantly less time than usual. You say “a meer 8 minutes”. 8 minutes feels like an eternity when you have a bus full of passengers with places to go. Get caught on the way back and that “meer 8 minutes” becomes 16 minutes. That’s 16 minutes added onto a 50 minute round trip on a service advertised to run every 7 – 8 minutes. Once you start to get that far behind, it’s not long before you have 2 or 3 buses running together, all trying to claw back the lost time. And then the barriers go down for another 8 minutes. I’m sure that you have all the time in the world to go about your business and being held up for 8 minutes has no impact on your daily routine. However, those of us that work in a time orientated business, 8 minutes is an eternity.

  3. Why don’t council build a tunnel under, should have been done by now for a major road.theres one for pedestrians why not dig one for the road

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