Dutch gov't to get rid of all unguarded rail crossings within 5 years
The Dutch government plans to get rid of all unguarded railway crossings in the country within five years. No one else should become a victim due to the lack of booms and bells, State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven wrote to the lower house of Dutch parliament, NOS reports.
Unguarded railway crossings are "just not of this time", Van Veldhoven wrote. "Every accident is one too many", she said. The initial plan was to get rid of unguarded crossings within 10 years. These plans are now being accelerated to within 5 years, "preferably even faster".
There are currently 135 unguarded level crossings in the Netherlands. Some of them will get railway booms and bells, the rest will be closed. The State Secretary wants to quickly make agreements on this with municipalities, provinces, interest groups and rail manager ProRail. A mediator will also be appointed to make sure the administrative process goes as quickly as possible.
The government will make 60 million euros available for this operation.
Over the weekend ProRail launched a new campaign to warn about the dangers of railway crossings, both guarded and unguarded. The campaign consists of videos of near-misses at crossings. ProRail also said that it would place concrete blocks at unguarded crossings itself, because the proper procedure to close crossings takes too long.