Sector Rail traffic

Crossing safety - A risky crossing of interests


An average of eleven people lose their lives in a level crossing accident on the railways every year. The Netherlands is the only country in Europe with a high volume of train traffic and a large number of level crossings; two features that do not go well together. Moreover, the intensity of both railway traffic and road traffic is rising, which increases the likelihood of an accident.

Three serious level crossing accidents, in the towns of Winsum, Harlingen and Wouw, at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 prompted an investigation into both protected and unprotected level crossings. The investigation examined the level of protection of level crossings, the vision on level crossing safety and the extent to which lessons had been learned from earlier railway incidents.

The investigation revealed that most accidents occur at protected level crossings, which account for the majority of all railway level crossings. The number of casualties can be reduced by equipping protected level crossings with additional safety devices, such as level crossing barriers that close the entire road. The Dutch Safety Board believes that unprotected level crossings are unacceptable in light of the high speeds at which trains currently travel. These level crossings should be protected or removed as quickly as possible. The Safety Board concludes that the responsibilities of road managers and the railway manager must be better assigned.


  • Start date 3 mei 2017
  • End date 26 jul. 2018
  • Type investigationFull
  • Status investigationClosed

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