'˜Downright dangerous' level crossing needs an upgrade

A level crossing in Littlehampton branded as '˜downright dangerous' by a worried resident is in major need of an upgrade, an MP has declared.

Marilyn Phipps with Nick Gibb at the Toddington Lane level crossing
Marilyn Phipps with Nick Gibb at the Toddington Lane level crossing

Nick Gibb called for Network Rail to renovate the crossing in Toddington Lane amid fears about its safety.

Last Wednesday, the MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton met with Marilyn Phipps, who lives nearby and wrote to him about the issue. The crossing has a single barrier, so when a train is imminent and the barrier lowered, it is still possible for pedestrians to cross the track.

Nick Gibb said: “Toddington Lane used to be a country lane with little traffic and very few pedestrians. As such, a single barrier at the level crossing was sufficient.

“Now, with new housing developments in recent years, traffic is heavier and there are many more pedestrians using the lane. It is now time to upgrade the crossing to a full barrier to ensure that no-one inadvertently walks across the tracks when a train is due, particularly at night.

“We also want to ensure children playing in the area aren’t tempted to dash across the tracks when a train is due, unaware of the risks and dangers.

“I have written to Network Rail asking them to consider upgrading the crossing.”

Mrs Phipps said that two years ago Network Rail installed cameras to catch trespassers, and questioned why they could not afford an upgrade. She said: “We need a full barrier across that railway line as a priority.

“It’s used by very young children and families, and it’s downright dangerous.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We agree that the growth in housing in this area requires a fresh look at the suitability of the crossing in this location. Our long term aspiration is to close rather than upgrade the crossing – until then, we will continue to work with the local community, including nearby schools, to educate motorists and pedestrians about using the crossing safely.”