BUDDING engineers at a school in Monmouth won recognition for creating a their invention device which could potentially save lives.

Three pupils studying at Haberdasher’s Monmouth School for Girls invented a new way for Network Rail to asses risk at level crossings.

Lisa Ho, 19, Stephanie Wai, 17, and Georgiana Jones, 17, spent six months working on their project brief, set by Network Rail, every Friday after school.

Their presentation and display at the Engineering Education Scheme Wales Awards and Assessment Day, held at Newport’s Celtic Manor Resort on Monday, saw them nominated for best overall team performance, most effective application of IT and best working model and win the prize for best overall written report out of 69 schools.

Every year numerous people are killed at crossings despite the safety measures that are in place.

Anne Kavanagh, the school’s head of physics, said: “Currently CCTV is used, ‘24-7’, at some known black spots and British Transport Police also do occasional checks from their vans.”

“The girls’ invention uses a Raspberry Pi mini computer that has been programmed to record a set number of seconds before and after the crossing is traversed only when the safety barriers are in position.

“The clever part of the solution is that Network Rail will capture, and therefore be able to analyse, solely potentially unsafe behaviour that has activated the camera through breaking an invisible infrared beam when the barriers are in position.

“With evidence of what happened beforehand, Network Rail may begin to understand why people take such unwise risks, and possibly be in a position to prevent future unnecessary deaths.”

Ms Kavanagh said Network Rail now intends to use the design.