The history of the level-crossing keeper

The level-crossing keeper was a most important person in the days before electric barriers and flashing lights. It was his task to close the gates and chains on each side of the railway crossing when trains approached.

The level-crossing keeper was a railway employee who lived in a small house right by the crossing it was his duty to guard. In all, there were 35 level-crossing keepers on the stretches between Slagelse - Næstved and Dalmose - Skælskør.

The vital importance of the level-crossing keeper's work was illustrated when an accident occurred at Sandved Station in 1907. A horse and cart were hit by a special train of which the keeper had not been informed - hence the gates were not shut. The driver was killed. There is no record of what happened to the horse.

The small yellow houses with numbers on their gables, like other railway structures, were designed by N.P.C. Holsøe. It was 1959-60 before electric barriers and flashing lights were introduced and the era of the level-crossing keeper was past. Despite conversion, many of the former keepers' houses are still recognisable, though now in private hands.