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ProRail taking immediate action at 28 dangerous, unguarded rail crossings

Rail manager ProRail is taking immediate action at 28 unguarded level crossings in the Netherlands after an investigation showed that they are even more dangerous than previously thought. NS is also taking measures to improve the visibility of trains, NU.nl reports.

The investigation was into a fatal collision between a train and an agricultural vehicle in Hooghalen in Drenthe in May last year. A 58-year-old train driver was killed and two passengers sustained minor injuries.

The investigation showed that heavy vehicles needs more time to cross unguarded level crossings than ProRail previously assumed. This prompted ProRail to designate 137 of the total 227 unguarded crossings in the country as potentially risky.

At 28 crossings, the risk is so great that measures are being taken immediately. Six of them, all located in the northeast of the country, will close to heavy vehicles, such as tractors, on Thursday. At four crossings, a speed limit of 90 kilometers per hour will be implemented for trains. At one crossing, heavy vehicles must notify ProRail of their crossing in advance.

For the other 17 acutely dangerous crossings, ProRail will perform an extra safety check in order to prepare them for train speed limits as well. Possible measures at the other 109 potentially risky crossings will be discussed in the near future.

NS is also taking measures to increase the visibility of trains. From now on, sprinter drivers must turn the headlights on brighter while the train is moving. The color scheme of the trains will also be adjusted, even though the vehicles already comply with European directives, an NS spokesperson said to NU.nl. “We will mainly look at the contrast of the trains.”