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The United Kingdom has some 6,500 level crossings on their sprawling railway network, out of which an astounding number of them—5,000—are user-worked. These crossing are unattended and manually operated by drivers and pedestrians. No signalman or a crossing keeper is present.

To operate a user-worked level crossing, the driver has to get off his vehicle, look both ways and listen to make sure a train is not approaching, open the gates on both sides of the crossing, get into the vehicle and make the crossing, get out of the vehicle again and then close the gates before leaving. At some crossings a telephone is provided and the operator is expected to call the nearest signalbox for advice about possible incoming trains before opening the gates. Others have miniature warning lights to tell users when it is safe to open the gates.

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A warning sign at a level crossing in England. Photo credit: Declan McAleese/Flickr

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© Amusing Planet, 2018.


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