Overcast with occasional drizzle today, but not cold at 13C this morning. Roadworks in my area of Stornoway sends cars onto the pavement, without a thought for the pedestrians on said pavement. Wonderful.
Two weeks ago, three people died when their car was struck by a train on a level crossing at Halkirk, in the far north of mainland Scotland. The cause of the accident is being investigated, and my comments below are not a reflection on any party involved in that tragic collision. The traindrivers' union ASLEF has said its members will slow down to 20 mph at any level crossing without barriers (the one at Halkirk only had lights). There has already been a negative reaction to that plan, if only because the Inverness to Thurso train already takes 4 hours to cover the 150 miles, and this go-slow would extend journeytimes even further. It would disadvantage the train against the bus, which incidentally, also takes 4 hours.
In my opinion, car drivers should be compelled to come to a full stop at any railway level crossing without barriers, then proceed slowly across. I believe that the current Highway Code already states that the onus is on the driver to ensure the crossing is safe to tackle, as the train cannot stop. After the train struck the car at Halkirk, it took a quarter of a mile to come to a full stop, although it was only doing the statutory 50 mph. Also, there is a litany of incidents of crazy drivers who fly across level crossings when the lights are flashing, barriers coming down (or already fully down). It is not the trains that should slow down - it's the drivers that should.