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Wed September 29 2021

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Meerkat alarms to improve level crossing safety

23 Aug 18 Network Rail has commissioned Costain to develop a new type of warning system to cut pedestrian accidents at level crossings.

Roughly five people a year are killed at level crossings in Britain with hundreds of reported near misses. The new enhanced warning devices will detect an oncoming train and provide an audible and visible warning to alert anyone thinking of crossing the tracks.

Costain’s team will work with Network Rail to develop the technology, called Meerkat, and the first units are expected to be installed within the next 12 months.

Work is already underway to design and develop the Meerkat solution. The plan is for the Meerkat technology to be installed at sites across Britain over the next five years, once it is fully developed and approved.

Costain chief executive Andrew Wyllie said: “Maintaining safety on the rail network is an important focus and the award of this contract demonstrates how smart infrastructure solutions can help save lives.”

Allan Spence, head of passenger and public safety at Network Rail, said: “This is an important project which will help further reduce level crossing risk across the network. Meerkat will give users information on whether it is safe to cross and allow us to replace hundreds of Victorian ‘whistleboards’ – helping line side neighbours as well as improving safety.”

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