Works at or near Level Crossings
Safety precautions for road works carried out in the vicinity of Network Rail level crossings are described in legislation specific to road works and health and safety. These guidelines have been developed in the light of experience gained following incidents where collisions occurred from traffic tailing back across level crossings, even though the work sites were a considerable distance away. The available advice has been brought together in this Appendix to provide comprehensive guidance for all those carrying out road works at, or near to, level crossings.
This Appendix specifies requirements for the execution of all works in the road at or near Network Rail level crossings. These should be identified in the Scottish Road Works Register.
This Appendix applies equally to undertakers, road works authorities and others who execute works at or near level crossings. Access to, or work within, any Network Rail property is subject to separate safety requirements, details of which can be obtained from the respective Network Rail contact.
This Appendix applies to works that take place within the boundary of the level crossing, in the road immediately in the vicinity, or some distance away where traffic may tail back across the level crossing as a result of the traffic management system employed during the works.
It does NOT apply to non-public road level crossings e.g. farm access where all relevant legislation should be taken into account when processing these works. For example:
- Undertakers may have particular powers under their enabling legislation and wayleave or easement agreements may apply in a particular case.
- Undertakers must ascertain what requirements apply before discussing their proposed works with Network Rail.
C2.2 Road Running Tramways
Network Rail is responsible for the maintenance of all infrastructure assets and for the day-to-day management of operations on the mainline railway. The provision of train services and associated activities are the responsibility of individual train operating companies.
Area RAUCs in Scotland should be the first point of contact for any queries relating to policy matters or interpretation of this Appendix.
For works at a level crossing, those undertaking the works must comply with the reasonable requirements of Network Rail made under Section 152 of the New Roads & Street Works Act 1991. All parties concerned must comply with the reasonable requirements of the Network Rail made under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASWA) and its associated Regulations (in particular the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999).
C4. Special Features of Level Crossing Work
C4.1 Work at or Near Level Crossings
Works at or near level crossings may impact upon one or more of the following:
- Safety of road users, pedestrians, railway passengers and personnel;
- Train operation;
- Structural integrity of the permanent way and other railway infrastructure assets;
- Railway overhead traction cables, electrified third-rails and feeder or continuity cables; and
- Railway underground apparatus serving the railway.
Undertakers, the road works authorities, Network Rail and others carrying out works on roads have a duty to co-ordinate their activities and to follow the special safety precautions which apply at level crossings. Risk Assessments, with continuous monitoring, are essential to safe operation of works on roads at or near to level crossings.
C4.2 Safety of Road Users, Railway Passengers and Employees
Risk assessments must be carried out both before and during works at or near level crossings in order to minimise the risk. Safe Systems of work must be in place and maintained during the works. Risk Assessments are further described in Section C7.
Traffic stopping or moving slowly over a level crossing causes potential danger to road and rail users alike.
Attention must be paid to situations where works may be a considerable distance away from the crossing, as they may cause traffic tail backs over the crossing.
C4.3 Other Safety Issues
When work is being carried out in the vicinity of overhead traction cables, electrified third rails and feeder or continuity cables, great care must be taken to avoid danger from electrocution. This is considered further in Section C8.
Electronic pipe and cable location equipment can potentially interfere with railway signalling apparatus and must not therefore be used within railway land without express permission from Network Rail, who will advise on the circumstances and type of equipment that can be used at a particular location.
C4.4 Network Rail's Responsibility
Network Rail will decide, on the basis of the information received from those proposing to execute works, whether the works are likely to affect train operations and advise of the arrangements made. Network Rail's Special Requirements are further described in Section C8.
For works at a level crossing, those undertaking the works must comply with the reasonable requirements of Network Rail made under sections 152 of NRSWA. In view of the requirements of the Rail Regulator, timing directions given under Section 152 may entail considerable delays to the project, and therefore it is recommended that consultation with Network Rail takes place at the earliest possible opportunity. All parties concerned must comply with the reasonable requirements of Network Rail made under the Health and Safety at Work etc, Act 1974 (HASWA) and its associated Regulations (in particular the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM).
The whole of Network Rail's infrastructure is a continuous site for the purposes of CDM. When work is being planned to take place on or in the immediate vicinity of a level crossing, and in order for permission to be given for any works to commence, Network Rail will require details of the works and the competence of those employed to carry out the works, and will advise contact details.
Network Rail must assess the possible effects of works on the permanent way (the railway track, sleeper, ballast or other foundation material) or adjacent Network Rail land, the level crossing surface, overhead catenary supports, signalling equipment and underground railway apparatus etc., and advise on the adoption of any additional measures required.
In order to assist works promoters in fulfilling the obligations set out herein, it is recommended that the location of level crossings, and where applicable an associated Precautionary Area, where special controls will apply, should be identified and publicised using the Scottish Road Works Register, as appropriate.
This information is to be provided in the form of a Special Designation File added to the Scottish Road Works Register in accordance with the procedures laid down by RAUC(S).
Road Authorities should co-operate with Network Rail in following the designation procedure set out below, in order to identify each level crossing and to establish an initial footprint of roads that will comprise the Precautionary Area.
Undertakers and other works promoters should recognise that both NRSWA and HASWA require them to consider the implications of their works and identify the effects on traffic in the vicinity of level crossings. They should therefore co-operate in the initial establishment of the Precautionary Area and its development over time.
C5.1 Identification of the Precautionary Area
Network Rail must identify individual level crossings, together with the Precautionary Area, and input this information into the Scottish Road Works Register, including an indication of the position of the crossing, its type and whether any barriers are manually or automatically controlled.
Network Rail will examine each crossing to identify those roads associated with it that are likely to cause traffic tailbacks to the level crossing arising from works carried out in the road.
The exercise should include each road falling wholly or partly within 200 metres of each crossing when following a route leading from the crossing.
The whole, or part of, each road identified above, will become part of the Precautionary Area and subject to special controls as described below. Minor modifications may be made at this stage, for example, the exclusion of one-way roads with traffic flowing towards a level crossing.
C5.2 Monitoring the Precautionary Area
The initial footprint of the Precautionary Area is to be kept under review by Network Rail, utilising the Road Authority's local knowledge. Therefore promoters of any works shall check the Scottish Road Works Register to ensure that they are aware of the extent of the current Precautionary Area.
Road works authorities have a duty under NRSWA to co-ordinate all kinds of works in the road. Where this duty extends to works that are likely to affect a level crossing, Network Rail must be included in the co-ordination exercise.
C6.1 Co-ordination Meetings
Network Rail may be expected to attend Co-ordination meetings when they are promoting road works. Network Rail may also be expected to attend when advised of proposed road works and other works for road purposes that may affect level crossings.
C6.2 Advance Consultation with Network Rail
Any planned works which will take place at or near to a level crossing, or works which are likely to affect the crossing because of traffic tailbacks (usually referred to by Network Rail as "blocking back"), must be advised to Network Rail's Outside Party Engineer for that location as early in the planning process as possible.
The form shown in Annex A must be used for this purpose. The contact details for the appropriate Outside Party Engineer in Scotland are:
Port Dundas Road Glasgow
Tel 0141 555 4271
Out of hours and emergencies - 0141 335 2020
Upon receipt of advance advice of proposed works Network Rail will endeavour to respond, within 10 working days, to acknowledge receipt of the advice and arrange a meeting with the promoter to agree the special requirements to be included in the Health and Safety Plan for the works. This meeting may take place at a Co-ordination Meeting or separately, depending on the nature and complexity of the proposed works.
Confirmation of the agreed arrangements are to be given to Network Rail in writing one month before the works are intended to start. Network Rail should then give its approval of the arrangements to the works promoter, within 10 days of receipt of the confirmation.
Promoters of works should also note that where the level crossing has been designated by Network Rail under NRSWA as a road with Special Engineering Difficulty, a plan and section drawing showing details of their proposed works may be required to accompany the advance advice described above.
C6.3 Undertakers' Statutory Notices under NRSWA
Section 152(2) of NRSWA requires undertakers to give notice to Network Rail of the starting date of proposed works which are to take place at a level crossing, notwithstanding that such notice is not required under Section 114 (notice of starting date).
C6.4 Minimum Notice Periods
It is strongly recommended that notice periods are treated as the minimum periods and, wherever possible, longer notice should be given. This is particularly important in the case of level crossings, where Network Rail may have to make special arrangements ranging from the provision of railway safety cover to complete closure of the rail route and rearrangement of rail services while the works take place.
C6.5 Emergency/Urgent Works
Where it is necessary to carry out emergency/urgent works at or near to a level crossing, it is vital that the road works authority and local Network Rail office is contacted immediately and work is not commenced until the promoter has been assured that all necessary safety precautions are in place.
C6.6 Road Works Permissions
Those without a statutory right to carry out road works must be authorised by the Road Works Authority (i.e. Roads Authority or Road Managers) by means of a permission before works may commence. In addition, the holder of the permit may have to comply with the requirements of other relevant authorities or owners of apparatus affected by the work. In some cases it may be necessary to settle a plan and section. It is recommended that specific reference to this guidance should be made within permit for works in the vicinity of railway level crossings. Network Rail, as the road manager at the level crossing, will similarly ensure that the requirements of this guidance are followed when permissions are issued.
C6.7 Unqualified Staff within the Railway Boundary
If it is necessary to use promoter's personnel to execute works within the track area they must not be allowed to enter until Network Rail nominated personnel have arranged appropriate protection and confirmed that it is safe to do so (see Section C8).
C7. Risk Assessments and Traffic Control
C7.1 Codes of Practice and Other Advice
The Code of Practice: Safety at Street Works and Road Works issued under section 124 of NRSWA is based on the Traffic Signs Manual (Chapter 8) and is a statutory requirement for undertakers' road works. It specifies the basic requirements for signing, lighting and guarding and traffic control at road works.
Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual also gives specific advice on traffic control at railway level crossings.
C7.2 Risk Assessments
Risk Assessments are a requirement of the Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2007 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and it is particularly important that they are carried out at Network Rail's level crossings. Arrangements made as a result of Risk Assessments should be continuously monitored so that appropriate remedial measures can be taken quickly if required.
Risk assessments should take into account the distance of the crossing from the proposed works and the volume of traffic using the road. Particular attention must be given to the possibility of traffic congestion tailing back over a level crossing at any time during the duration of the works, for example during an all-red traffic light period imposed to allow difficult operations to take place at the work site. There have been instances where this situation has also arisen from works that have been a considerable distance from the level crossing and this possibility should always be borne in mind during works.
C7.3 Traffic Control Measures at or near Network Rail Railway Level Crossings
Traffic control measures at or near level crossings are to be in accordance with the guidance set out in the version of Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual which is current when the works are being undertaken.
C8. Network Rail's Special Requirements for all Works Affecting the Permanent Way
Network Rail's Special Requirements must be followed in all cases where works are to take place at a level crossing and should be included in any contract let in connection with the works. The current version of this document may be obtained from Network Rail, who will also be able to give advice during the planning of works.
There is no provision in NRSWA for the recovery of costs for special arrangements such as those described below and costs incurred by each party will therefore lie where they fall.
C8.1 Level Crossing Attendant
A Level Crossing Attendant will ensure the crossing is cleared before lowering barriers and authorising a train to movement.
C8.2 Temporary Speed Restrictions
In some instances it may be necessary to impose a temporary speed restriction on trains. Temporary speed restrictions take time to arrange, so discussions with Network Rail should take place as early as possible, before any formal notice is given for the works. Where a temporary speed restriction may already have been arranged for other purposes, the roads authority, undertaker or other person should consider rearranging the timing of its road works so as to be able to make use of it, thereby minimising disruption to rail traffic.
C8.3 Trenchless Construction
Where trenchless construction is to be employed beneath the railway track, Network Rail must approve the method. A temporary speed restriction may be imposed on trains and Network Rail may require to oversee works in progress. Pipe bursting techniques will require special consideration by Network Rail, due to possible effects on the permanent way.
C8.4 Road works on Railway Land which do not Affect the Structure of the Permanent Way
These are works that do not affect the track or its surrounding land, such as works at a manhole, erection of poles and wires, pressure testing pipes which do not pass under the track or excavations several metres away from the track.
C8.5 Works Outside the Confines of a Level Crossing, Using Existing Ducts which Pass Beneath the Railway.
These works may proceed without special early notification to Network Rail. However, Risk Assessments and Traffic Control as described in Section C7 must be followed.
C8.6 Use of Mechanical Excavators and Cranes near the Railway
Network Rail will advise of any necessary precautionary measures whenever cranes, mechanical excavators, vehicles or other construction plant is to be operated close to railway traffic. The purpose is both to protect trains from accidental contact with the plant and to protect operators from the likelihood of death or serious injury arising from contact with live traction equipment and trains on the railway.
Network Rail may require the submission of plant operating diagrams and/or method statements, prepared by the plant operator and approved by the undertaker, roads authority or other person carrying out the work, to enable it to decide the magnitude of any potential problems. These diagrams and method statements should take into account the possible results of machine failure, structural failure or uncontrolled operation of the plant.
C8.7 Electrification Continuity Cables
In areas where the railway is electrified using the third rail system particular care must be taken to ensure that continuity cables, which connect the ends of the live rail to maintain electrical continuity, are not damaged whilst excavations are being undertaken. In most cases these will be laid parallel to the rails at, or just below, the adjacent ground level.
C9. Reinstatement of the Road at Level Crossings
Where the roads authority resurfaces a road or carries out alterations on the approach to a level crossing, alterations should not be made to any signs or road markings which are a requirement of the Level Crossing Order, including carriageway and footway width and centre of carriageway markings on the approach to the crossing. If alterations are required sufficient notice is required to permit Network Rail to request and obtain a revised Level Crossing Order.
C10. New Works near Level Crossings
When undertakers are proposing to install new supplies, routes should, wherever possible, avoid traversing level crossings. Where avoidance is not possible, trenchless methods of installation should be considered.
C11. HSE and HM Railway Inspectorate Requirements
Specific attention is drawn to HM Railway Inspectorate Guidance Note 'Railway Level Crossings' dated 1st May 2003 and the necessity to comply with the advice contained therein.
Annex A to Appendix C