Fewer accidents at level crossings in Belgium, yet more fatalities
Belgian Infrastructure manager Infrabel recorded 32 accidents at level crossings in 2022, 14 less than in the year prior. However, the number of fatalities increased from 9 to 11. They were mostly pedestrians. Infrabel therefore remains committed to eliminating level crossings in favour of bridges or underpasses, it said last week.
Belgium has 1.630 level crossings on its network. Infrabel removed 18 in 2022 as part of a 43-million-euro replacement and renewal campaign. In the coming year, this campaign will continue but it remains unclear how many level crossings will be eliminated. Since 2005, Infrabel has worked to remove 442 crossings.
According to Infrabel, the majority of incidents involve people that live in the immediate vicinity of the level crossings. “They seem to think that these crossings do not present a danger to them, and therefore act irresponsibly at times”, a spokesperson told sister publication RailTech.be. The behaviour of juveniles and motorists attempting to cross at the last minute, are two other important causes of accidents.
The incidents at level crossings resulted in a delay of 1 hour and 47 minutes per day on average last year, up from 1 hour and 18 minutes on average in 2021.
Infrabel last week also released figures on railway trespassing. There were 649 incidents in 2022, up 10 per cent compared to the year prior and the first increase in five years. The infrastructure manager counted six fatalities last year, one more compared to 2021.
According to Infrabel, the problems with trespassing happen at certain ‘hotspots’ in the network. The company has identified 49 locations, and it has taken several steps to counter the problem at those locations. These measures include fencing and camera’s. In 2022, Infrabel installed nearly 3 kilometres of new barriers for a new total of 43 kilometres.
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