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Estonian state to tighten up rail crossing safety regulations

Level crossing warning lights.
Level crossing warning lights. Source: Ministry of Climate.

Minister of Climate Kristen Michal (Reform) has signed amendments to the Estonian rail network's technical regulations, with the aim of improving rail safety, particularly as loco speeds are set to rise.

Climate Minister Kristen Michal (Reform) said: "In the future, the speed of train traffic will rise to up to 160 km/h, hence it being necessary to supplement railway infrastructure safety measures in advance."

The changes will also tighten the requirements for those railroad crossings where top speeds will not be increased.

The technical use regulations specify categories of rail crossings. Whereas up until now these depended solely on the traffic density of trains and rolling stock, in future, loco speed will be an additional criterion. 

Full, closing barriers must be installed at those crossings which have higher traffic density and train speeds.

Warning signals must be installed at all crossings where the speed of trains exceeds the 90 km/h-mark; as of the end of last year, there were 89 of these nationwide.

At crossings where no automated warning signal is required, all trees and other vegetation must be properly cut down, to ensure proper visibility.

The changes stipulate that rail crossings must have warning lights by the end of 2028 at the latest. Transition times are also provided for all other requirements; the top speed of 160 km/h will not be established until the necessary prerequisites with the crossing are met.

Rail technical use regulations establish requirements for railway infrastructure and rolling stock and railway maintenance and transport. The goal is to make rail traffic and the organization of rail transport safe, the ministry says.

Newly-procured Elron trains will have a top speed up to 160 km/h, while the high-speed Rail Baltica development work is in progress also.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Ministry of Climate

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