New safety measures for Polegate level crossing after woman hit by barriers

SUS-180129-121704001
SUS-180129-121704001

There will be further safety measures at Polegate level crossing after an incident where an elderly woman was struck by the barriers.

Following pressure from Polegate MP, Maria Caulfield, Network Rail has announced the amber warning will be extended from three to five seconds, giving residents more time to cross.

Polegate railway level crossing (Photo by Jon Rigby)

Polegate railway level crossing (Photo by Jon Rigby)

And Network Rail staff will be on site at the level crossing from Monday (March 19) for a period of nine weeks to ‘help members of the public get familiar and confident in using the crossing’.

They will remain there on Mondays to Fridays from 7.45am-11am and then 11.45am-6pm.

In November an 89-year-old woman from Polegate was seriously injured when the level crossing barrier struck her on the head and left her trapped inside.

Violet Tarrant suffered head and arm injuries and was left lying on the ground thinking a train could hit her at any moment.

Violet Tarrant (89) at her home in Willingdon, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby)

Violet Tarrant (89) at her home in Willingdon, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby)

Since the incident Maria Caulfield has been calling on Network Rail to improve safety measures at Polegate level crossing due to the number of elderly and disabled people living in the nearby area who struggle to cross in the given time.

Ms Caulfield said, “The incident last year was terrible and could have been so much worse. Having watched the warnings and barriers closing it was clear that many residents struggled to get across in time.

“I wanted to ensure that Network Rail was aware of this, so it was good to be able to show the South East Managing Director in person.

“I am pleased that following my efforts on behalf of residents, Network Rail are now taking action to improve safety at Polegate level crossing, and I’d like to thank them for listening to us on this issue.”

And Gill Clare, Mrs Tarrant’s daughter, has been fighting for further safety measures since the incident.

She said, “Network Rail have spent a lot of time reassuring my mother that she had done nothing wrong, in fact the CCTV footage confirms that she was about half way across before the closing process started.

“We had a very useful meeting at the crossing yin February when the motion sensors and safety features were demonstrated.

“They are going to have two members of staff at the crossing for a month or two to assist the people using the crossing. During this time they will monitor the ability of the various pedestrians to use the crossing safely and the time taken.

“It is good to be able to report that Network Rail have actually listened to my mother, and others, and are now looking for ways in which they can make the crossing safer for those with mobility issues.”

To read more about what happened to Mrs Tarrant, click here.