Quick action urged over rail crossings

Quick action urged over rail crossings

Prommin Kantiya, chairperson of the Accident Prevention Network (APN), has asked authorities to quickly install barriers at rail crossings around the country, following Sunday's deadly accident in Chachoengsao.

"Accidents at train crossing like the one in Chachoengsao have happened a number of time and hundreds of lives have been lost," Mr Prommin said. "But the problem has never been addressed and resolved.  

"The government has championed the use of trains and formed the Department of Rail.  It is time to improve safety along with this development. After all, rail transport is not only about investment and recouping the benefits."

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob reportedly admitted on Monday that the budget for the procurement of crossing barriers had been cut by a House committee during a debate on the 2021 appropriation bill.

The kingdom had 2,657 rail crossings in 2019, of which 676 were considered illegal due to a lack of safety measures in place, including the absence of barriers.

It costs about five million baht to install automatic barriers at each crossing. 

There were 486 accidents related to rail crossings and railways from 2014 to last year, 143 of which were at illegal crossings.

The State Railway of Thailand on Monday also released a report about 35 unsafe rail crossings, despite some having barriers and a traffic warning system.  

The crossing with the highest accident rate is Kaeng Khoi-Ban Chong Tai in Sara Buri, which witnessed four accidents last year, despite having a fully operational barrier.

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