Operation Look welcomed by mum of teen killed at Elsenham level crossing

Tina Hughes said she would do whatever she can to avoid other families going through what she has su

Tina Hughes said she would do whatever she can to avoid other families going through what she has suffered. - Credit: Archant

The mother of a teenager who was killed at a level crossing has welcomed a nationwide campaign to increase safety for pedestrians and drivers over rail tracks.

Tina Hughes’ daughter, Olivia Bazlinton, 14, and her friend Charlotte Thompson, 13, died after being hit by a 70mph train at a crossing in Elsenham in December 2005.

Since then, Ms Hughes has worked tirelessly to promote safety at crossings, and is now supporting British Transport Police (BTP) and Network Rail on a new campaign, Operation Look, which began on Monday.

“I’m involved because I think it’s important to get across the message that level crossings are dangerous, and I will do whatever I can to avoid other families going through what I have been though,” Ms Hughes told the Reporter.

During Operation Look, which runs for a week, officers will carry out additional patrols to promote safety and tackle deliberate misuse of crossings. A number of videos showing the dangers of level crossings have also been released.

Ms Hughes, who is picking up an MBE from Buckingham Palace on Friday, has been visiting a number of crossings across the country over the week.

“It’s really interesting talking to people who use level crossings,” she said.

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“Each crossing has different circumstances which cause concerns for the BTP and Network Rail,” she said, citing high volumes of trains, reckless drivers, and pedestrians who climb over barriers to catch their trains as some of them.

In December, Ms Hughes organised a level crossing video to be filmed at her daughter’s old school, Joyce Frankland Academy in Newport, which will be shown in schools this spring to increase awareness among students.

“This week is aimed at delivering messages to encourage pedestrians and drivers to be aware of the dangers and behave safely, not only for themselves but also for other rail users.

“And as I know from personal experience, if young people see others taking risks - for instance crossing behind trains - then it can encourage them to think this is normal behaviour.”

For more information on Operation Look, go to networkrailmediacentre.co.uk