Metro Level Crossings Safety Fears After Car Crash

An “urgent review” of the safety of barrier-free level crossings should take place after a car hit a train, councillors have said.

The Tyne and Wear Metro was halted after the crash at Callerton Lane, near Callerton Parkway, on Thursday.

Ian Donaldson, Callerton and Throckley councillor, described the crossing as “not fit for purpose”.

Metro operator Nexus, which also runs the infrastructure, said the crossing had “very clear” warning lights.

Trains were stopped between Newcastle Airport and Kingston Park after the crash at about 07:30 BST.

The Kia car involved was damaged but nobody was injured in the crash.

There have been previous crashes in 2020, 2013, 2007 and in 1999 when former Newcastle United defender Andy Griffin’s Porsche collided with a train.

The crossing does not have barriers, but features warning signs and flashing lights to alert drivers to an approaching train.

But councillors and candidates standing in the May local elections have raised concerns over its current form.

Mr Donaldson, of the Newcastle Independents Party, said: “It is clear that having a crossing where Metro trains and cars are separated only by lights is not fit for purpose. 

“After this latest incident, an urgent review of the safety of all Metro crossings needs to take place”.

Liberal Democrat councillor Thom Campion said it was “surprising” that barriers had not been installed at the crossing.

“The warning signs of another incident have been there for years, we need actions not apologies before someone is seriously hurt,” Mr Campion, of the neighbouring Castle ward, said.

Labour candidate for the Callerton and Throckley ward Adam Walker added that he had contacted the council and Nexus with his concerns.

Barriers ‘not practical’

According to Nexus, installing barriers could lead to congestion and cost £2m for each location, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Director of Metro infrastructure Stuart Clarke said each crossing had been “rigorously assessed” in the last year and they all “meet the required safety standards”.

He said almost “all level crossing risk” is caused by drivers using the crossing and urged motorists to “take due care and stop when the see a red light.”

“The installation of barriers at Metro level crossings is not something that’s practical in the urban areas we serve,” he said.

“As the crossings are adjacent to stations Metro trains travel slowly across them so the risk of serious injury is reduced.”

Northumbria Police confirmed it had received a report of the crash on Thursday.