Stress. Deadly danger. Fight with time. When a driver is stuck between the railroad crossing gates or their vehicle has stopped on the railroad crossing, whether it is due to their recklessness or because of not following the regulations, every second is crucial. PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A.’s flagship project - the Yellow Sticker provides drivers with this precious time. Since 2018, every crossing in Poland controlled by PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. is additionally marked with an individual identification number. As a result, every railroad crossing is now a safer place.

The effects appeared quickly. During the first year alone since the introduction of the Yellow Sticker, the train traffic has been stopped or limited 165 times after having received a call informing about the number of the railroad crossing where life threatening situation, possibility of a tragedy, losses or communication problems occurred. It means millions of Polish zlotys which are not being spent on rescue operations, train repairs or the railway’s infrastructure. These are dozens of situations, in which a dangerous accident would have occurred without the Yellow Sticker. And at least a few lives that weren’t tragically ended.

A lifebuoy for the driver

Every year, ca. 200 accidents and collisions happen on railroad crossings leading to dozens of deaths. 99 percent of these incidents are a result of the drivers’ recklessness and their non-compliance with the rules. Therefore, PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A.  launched in 2005 a social campaign Safe rail-road level crossing aimed at increasing the drivers’ awareness. Only compliance with the regulations can guarantee safety on the railroad crossings. Yet, when a driver has already made a mistake and is in a critical situation, the Yellow Sticker acts as a lifebuoy. The project targets primarily in decreasing the number of accidents and shortening the reaction time of proper services. From June 1st, 2018 to May 31st, 2020 the operators of 112 emergency number have answered over 6,840 calls regarding potential threats on railroad crossings and in the railway areas (since the beginning of 2020: 2,071 cases). In 260 cases, the trains on the railway line were stopped and the help was called – all thanks to a special and quick connection (since the beginning of 2020: 69 cases). 439 calls led to decreasing the trains’ speed to ensure safety of the passengers and people using railroad crossings (since the beginning of 2020: 140 cases).

  • Listen to the conversation with a driver calling the emergency number

How does it work?

  1. The car is immobilized on the railroad crossing.
  2. The driver calls 112 emergency number, reports the danger and provides the individual identification number of the railroad crossing featured on the Yellow Sticker.
  3. The 112 operator calls the department of PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A.
  4. The department gives order to suspend the traffic or decrease the speed of the trains.
  5. The traffic is suspended / the speed limitation is applied for the trains in the area of the railroad crossing, thanks to the information provided on the Yellow Sticker.

Identification in every place

While one is a witness of an accident or a dangerous incident on the railroad tracks, it is difficult to keep a cool head. The first question we hear when calling 112 emergency number is “Where are you?”. Theoretically, it’s a simple question, but when talking about a railroad crossing outside of the built-up area it can be complicated. And yet, every second of doubt may cost someone their health or their life. 

To make this process more efficient, the Yellow Stickers appeared on 14,000 railroad crossings. They are located on the drives of the railroad crossing gates or on the crosses of St. Andrew on the tracks’ side. Each sticker contains an individual identification number of the railroad crossing consisting of 9 digits. Such information allows to identify precisely the railroad crossing or passage location. Additionally, the stickers include telephone numbers to PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. railway plant’s dispatcher and the 112 emergency number. It makes communication between particular services more efficient in case of any danger on the tracks and helps the person taking the call identify precisely the railroad crossing. The Yellow Sticker may accelerate the stopping of the train at a safe distance from the railroad crossing and prevent a tragedy.