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Media room - ILCAD 2012


Bratislava, 7th of June 2012

  7 June, 2012 - European day of safety at the level
crossings in Slovakia


The Railways of the Slovak Republic (ŽSR) again in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development of the Slovak republic, the Police Corps of the Slovak republic, Railway Company Cargo Slovakia Railway Company, and with a media partner of the project Green wave, namely the RTVS, are being jointly involved in the European day of safety at the level crossings. This year 7th of June 2012 is the Day of the safety at the level crossings. ŽSR are being involved in European day of safety at the level crossings for the fourth time already.

Railways of the Slovak Republic prepared As a main activity for this year ŽSR had prepared parallel rides of a car and a train, and then compared the differences in the lengths of the braking distance of both – the car and the train at the speed of 30, 50 and 80 km/h in the premises of the railway station Žilina-Teplička. At the speed of 80 km/h the braking distance of the train will be measured twice – first applying the standard braking and than also using the emergency brake.

With this demonstration ŽSR want to appeal to all road users to reconsider their behavior when passing though the level crossing and to realize that the train is always stronger, and even at the moment, when the train driver in approaching train sees the car at the crossing, it is nearly impossible with so many tonnage colossus such as train, to stop the train and avoid collision even after using all available means. The braking distance of a train can be up to 100m, depending on its weight and speed. Statistics shows that the accidents at level crossings are caused by the drivers themselves, because they are taking unnecessary risk, they putting in danger not only their live, but also the lives of others and do not respect the rules. To think that I can pass through a crossing, because the train is so far away, is a tragic, and unfortunately, often repeated mistake.

Technical parameters of the engine, which will be used for the ride:

-          Series HDV 110

-          Nickname: Presser

-          Max. speed (km.h-1) - 80

-          Bogie wheelbase (m) – 2,8

-          Weight in service (t) 72

-          Total power (kW) 960

  RESULT: comparation of the differences in the lengths of the braking distances - 7th of June 2012:


At the speed 30km/h – breaking distances:
Car: 5 m
Engine: 40 m

At the speed 50km/h – breaking distances :
Car: 10 m
Engine: 94 m

At the speed 80km/h – breaking distances:
Car: 18 m
Engine: 236 m




This year the mascot of ŽSR for the safety at railway level crossings is again the railwayman hedgehog - „Želko“.

ŽSR doesn’t forget about preventive and educational activities for children and for this occasion in 2012 issued a publication adressed to the children in kindergartens and first grade of primary schools called Želko's nursery. The book, designed in a colorful and interesting way, presents to the children in a playful way the most basic situations to be avoided when playing near the rails, travel ling by train, etc.. The main characters of the book are the railwayman hedgehog Želko and the naughty rabbit. The publication will be distributed to children at various events of ŽSR - educational-preventive visits and lectures for children in kindergartens and primary schools in June 2012, but also at other events planned under the auspices of ZSR such as Rendez, Grand Prix of the steam engines, etc.

There will be billboards placed next to the roads at 30 locations in different cities of Slovakia It is about the life! Do not risk!

In addition, during the month June there will be monitoring actions undertaken at selected railway level crossings throughout Slovakia aimed to check the compliance with prescriptions and with the safety when passing through level crossings.

The aim of ŽSR is to continuously prepare preventive and safety activities for road users and provide them with information about the rules of passing through the railway crossings and of behavior close to the rail and in that manner to prevent accidents at level crossings. In this field ŽSR has been trying systematically to influence the public preventively and educationally for several years. Whether through regular involvement in the European Day of safety, through issuing of information brochures, instructional films, production of educational materials distributed on CDs and so on.


As of 1st May 2012 ŽSR recorded the total number of 2198 crossings in the Slovak Republic.

Out of this 1116 crossings have been unsecured and 1082 crossings have been secured with a safety installation*.

Secured level crossings have been - according to several criteria - divided into following categories:

 ·       crossings provided with mechanical barriers (without light signaling)                                           67

·       crossings provided with mechanical barriers (with light signaling)                                                  5

·       level crossings with the safety installation with barriers                                                             512

·       crossings with the light safety installation without barriers                                                         477


The total number of secured crossings includes 21 crossings, which are permanently locked and if necessary, they can be opened upon request by a transport employee.


Another 60 crossings for pedestrians are also recorded as railway crossings, out of them 42 are unsecured and 18 are secured with a safety installation.


Since the end of 2011 to 1st May 2012, there were:

·         15 crossings cancelled (Regional directorate Zvolen 10, Regional directorate Trnava 5)

·         newly established – 1 crossing as apart of the investment move by city Ružomberok, at the 7 crossings as a part of the modernization process 8 crossings in total (Regional Directorate Žilina)


The number of unsecured crossings has been reduced over this period (from 31.12. 2011 to 1.5.2012) by 10 level crossings from 1126 to 1116.

In the coming future, further cancellation of level crossings is being expected based on the decisions issued by Railway Regulatory Authority.


Protection standard:

The method for securing the level crossing is being assessed under precisely defined standards, depending on the type the railway line, the road class, the intensity of road and rail transport (road momentum) and the possibility to achieve the sight conditions. Railway Regulatory Authority issues decision on the method of securing the level crossing based on an agreement with the relevant authorities, including the transport police. Increasing the level of security is also assessed due to the occurrence of accidents at level crossings and the intensity of road transport.

In terms of the respective provision of the Act on railways, the burden of financing the establishment, expansion or modification of the securing method shall be carried by those, in whose interest such action is being performed. There is a permanent effort to reduce the number of level crossings, by cancelling or replacing them with a grade separated crossings of roads with the railway track. Currently this is being applied only by the ŽSR, above all when building-up the European rail corridors.

ŽSR contributes to the improvement of safety at level crossings (depending on the track-side signaling equipment of individual lines), also by building in the so called, priecestník” (a signal) which indicates for driver the status of functionality of crossing safety installation at the level crossing. Therefore in case of failure detection, the driver will be able to adjust the speed of the train early enough before passing through the crossing.


Surveillance at railway crossings:

All of railway crossing safety installations are under regular surveillance by respective employees of ŽSR. If there is a drop-out (failure) of the railway crossing safety installation, we act operatively and such a failure is being removed within the shortest possible response time. It has to be emphasised, that the safety of railway traffic stays never without surveillance. If it isn’t possible to remove the failure immediately, the train rides in adjacent sections undergo specifically prescribed regulations. In case of any extraordinariness a specific regime for passage of trains is being ordered, which means that trains are passing over the crossing with a speed 10 km/h and providing for an acoustic warning signal.

Regular inspections at railway crossings are being carried out by ŽSR as scheduled by respective regulations in order to avoid failures at railway crossing safety installations. Railway crossing safety installations are under the surveillance of respective Regional directorates in Trnava, Žilina, Zvolen and Košice. The maintenance of these installations is being carried out by ŽSR’s technical departments.


Violations of the traffic rules:

In cooperation with the Railway police and on a regular basis ŽSR carries out a monitoring regarding the observance of rules for passing through railway crossings by the road users and respecting the halt command ahead of the crossing in terms of the Act Nr. 8/2009 Col. on road traffic by the means of controls on the spot, whereby significant violations by the drivers of road vehicles but also by the pedestrians and bikers are being recorded. The investigations of accidents, in which a train together with a road vehicle have been involved, often showed that the driver passed by a whole group of waiting vehicles and entered the crossing directly in front of a coming train (even when the railway crossing safety installation was working properly). People often do not realise, that the braking distance of a train can reach up to 1000 m, depending on its weight and speed. Despite sanctions (mostly fines) from the state police the effect of such infliction is minimal.


Another major issue pictures the vandalism, by which the level crossing safety installations are being damaged intentionally (optics of warning signals are being destroyed, yards broken, stands uprooted and damaged, components of safety installations stolen, etc.). Even a small damage can cause an accident with significant damage to the property but above all with lasting health effects or the most tragic effect – death of innocent people.


The price for the reconstruction of a crossing depends on the number of tracks, extent of the safety installation equipment, maintenance carried out ahead of the crossing, extent of modifications on both sides of the crossing, etc.





































































  2012 *






  * Statistics as of 31.5.2012


“Act safely at level crossings!”

International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD)

7 June 2012


(Paris, 7 June 2012): Today the international railway community celebrates the 4th edition of the International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) focusing on educational measures and the promotion of safe behaviour at and around level crossings. In more than 42 countries a range of national events will be held jointly at various locations with the common ILCAD message “Act safely at level crossings!”, in addition to regular activities held throughout the year.


Trains are undoubtedly one the safest modes of transport. But it is the interface between road and rail, namely level crossings that represent a big operational risk for the railways. The most logical solution would be to engineer out the problem and remove all level crossings but it would restrict mobility in many places. In addition building bridges or underpasses is not always possible in built up areas; it is also very expensive (5 to 10 million EUR in Europe) and is the result of a long process. Level crossings are also very useful to the community and very often local authorities want to keep them.  


Traversing level crossings is safe for road users and pedestrians as soon as they respect traffic signs and signals as laid down in the Highway Code and based on the UN “Convention on road traffic” and the “Convention on Road Signs and Signals both signed in Vienna in 1968 and applied worldwide.


According to the European Railway Agency (ERA) 619 accidents caused 359 fatalities in the European Union in 2010 (831 accidents caused 405 fatalities in 2009). They represent 30% of all railway fatalities in the EU against 1.2% road fatalities. Therefore it is considered as a minor problem for the road but a huge problem for the railways.

Besides these fatal level crossing accidents, thousands of near-miss incidents occur every day in the world that could lead to a catastrophe if they involve buses or heavy vehicles.


Almost 98% of all accidents at level crossings (at least in Europe) are caused by misuse of road users and pedestrians who do not respect traffic signs and signals. These people usually live and work near level crossings.


There are several reasons why people take risks at level crossings:

·         time pressure (school, work, appointments) people think: ”I can make it”, ”I am not waiting any longer”, ”It won’t happen to me”, because of familiarity: ”I cross here several times a day”, ”I know the train timetable”,

·         distraction: ”I didn’t realise”, ”I was distracted by the radio, children crying or shouting”, use of mobile phone, use of GPS, young people wearing a headphone (becoming a big concern),

·         physical reasons such as fatigue (professional drivers), use of drugs and/or alcohol. According to EC figures: 20% of crashes on the roads are caused by fatigue and 25% when driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


Accidents are also caused by violation. Speeding is the highest risk factor of collision at level crossings as well as in other road areas. According to EC figures 30% of fatal road accidents in the EU are caused by speeding. This is why fixed cameras, speed radars have been installed at level crossings in some countries (U.K., France…). Zigzagging between two closed half barriers by road users; pedestrians jumping over the barriers also represent a high accidents risk.


Level crossing accidents have long term and enormous human impact on the society (loss of a beloved person or family, lost contribution to home and work productivity, quality of life, post traumatic effects on the locomotive driver, car or train passengers, on the witnesses, on the injured people, high medical costs..).


Society still regards level crossing accidents as a railway problem, despite evidence of motorists being at fault, the impact in the media being very negative. The rail sector alone is not able to control the high risks issued by road users and pedestrians traversing level crossings without the support from other key players including the road and rail sectors, police forces, road users and those with responsibility for licensing those users as well as pedestrians and cyclists.


Other initiatives apart from classical engineering solutions could include innovations like alerts or locations of level crossings on satellite navigation systems (U.K. France...), signals sent to cars at level crossings by approaching trains (being tested in Australia).


But the core solution still remains human behaviour. That’s the reason why the International Level Crossing Awareness Day is so important to make level crossing users aware of the dangers they face when not respecting the traffic rules and make them aware of the serious risks not only for themselves but also for their accompanying persons, the railway staff members and train passengers.


Did you know?

1.   Trains can weigh 1500 tons; the distance for a train to stop can be 10 times higher than for a car. 

2.   When a train runs at 90 km/h, it takes 800 metres to stop (up to 1200 metres depending on the weight and speed of the train), a car stops within 70 metres.

3.   According to RFF: 50% of car collisions between a train and a car lead to a fatality: 5% only when it is a “typical road accident”.

4.   According to the World Health Organisation traffic accidents cost between 1 to 2% (in high income countries) of the Gross National Product according to the country.

5.   Since ILCAD partners have started to tackle the level crossing safety issue through better Engineering, risk mitigation, more Education and more Enforcement, they have been experiencing great decreases in the number of collisions and fatalities, some examples: Operation Lifesaver inc. U.S.A, since 1972: -84% fewer collisions; Operation Lifesaver Canada, since 1980: -75% fewer collisions; RFF, France, since 2000: -50% fewer collisions, REFER, Portugal, since 1999: -84% fewer collisions.


On 7 June, an international conference will take place from 16.00 to 17.15 at RFF HQ in Paris. Hubert du Mesnil, President of RFF and Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director-General of UIC as well as international rail and road stakeholders, behavioural experts and those involved in prevention will participate in this official kick-off that will be broadcast live around the world. You can watch it at the following link: A press conference will be held prior to this event.


Note to the Editor:


The 42 countries involved as well as European and international rail organisations (UIC, CER, EIM), Operation Lifesaver, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), the European Level Crossing Forum (ELCF), the European Railway Agency (ERA) and the UN-ECE Transport Division. The Latin American Railway Association (ALAF), the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) are actively involved in this campaign but there is still room for many, many more.


The European Commission and UNECE have respectively launched their Road Safety Decade pledging to reduce the number of road accidents, fatalities and injuries in the EU and around the world. ELCF, UIC and ILCAD partners signed the European Road Safety Charter in 2009 through which companies, public authorities, associations and research institutions can commit to supporting the EU to meet its road safety targets by taking concrete steps to improve road safety and share ideas and experiences. ILCAD has also been granted the use of the logo of the UN-ECE Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 as part of many other road safety initiatives.


UIC organised for the second time the worldwide contest for children on level crossing safety for which we received over 400 drawings. The best drawings from different countries around the world will be exhibited during ILCAD campaigns and other level crossing safety events. Finally a new video has been produced for ILCAD 2012.


For more information please visit the dedicated website and also visit to view the international ILCAD launch conference in streaming organised at RFF Headquarters, our host in Paris.



UIC: Liesbeth de Jong, Media Relations:  and Isabelle Fonverne,

ELCF: Alan Davies, ELCF Chairman:




  Video "Priecestia, brzdná dráha" download - CLICK FOR DOWNLOAD

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