Jacky Duffin Wood level crossing in Carlton, North Yorkshire, is the first in the Britain to link two safety measures together, following a £30,000 investment.

The user worked level crossing has up to 60 freight trains per day which travel up to 55mph.

Network Rail has interlinked the user worked vehicle gates on the crossing with the miniature stop lights for the first time, meaning they only open when no trains are approaching, and it is safe for motorists to cross the railway.

Network Rail installed the power operated gate opener at Jacky Duffin Wood level crossing eight months ago to replace obsolete rural barriers, as the authorised users were finding them increasingly difficult to use and Network Rail were finding them increasingly difficult to maintain. Working closely with the Office of Rail and Road, Network Rail have developed the interlink between the gates and miniature stop lights. It took around six months to develop the interface between the two systems, check how it worked, then install and commission the work.

Network Rail engineers have connected an output of the lights to the control panel on the gates. If the red light is displayed and a vehicle user presses the button to open the gates, they will not open. This reduces the risk of a potential near miss, as the gate will only open when it is safe to cross. The technology does not affect how the gates function if they are open, or opening, and the light changes to red. This is so that drivers who have already entered the crossing can still exit safely.

Andrew Murray, Engineering and Asset Management Director, Eastern Region, for Network Rail, said: ‘Network Rail’s main priority is safety, and this technology helps to cross only when it is safe to do so.

‘Network Rail installed and commissioned the work at Jacky Duffin Wood crossing in August, and the benefits of the upgrade can already be seen.

‘Network Rail is always looking for innovative ways to improve the railway, and the equipment could be linked at other level crossings to make them safer.’

Network Rail has also installed new, clearer signage at Jacky Duffin Wood crossing with more icons, making it more visible to drivers and pedestrians in the area and easier to interpret.