Safety concern over ‘stuck’ barriers at Plumpton level crossing

A train passes through the 'open' crossing. Image by Jo Filmer
A train passes through the 'open' crossing. Image by Jo Filmer

Fears over safety have been voiced after the barriers at a rural level crossing stayed up as a train passed through.

The incident happened at the crossing adjacent to Plumpton Railway Station.

Three years ago it had to be closed to traffic for several months because the original wooden Victorian gates there were deemed unsafe and had to be replaced.

The level crossing is now operated from Three Bridges Control Centre.

A fault developed at lunchtime on Wednesday last week (January 24) and the barriers could not be lowered for around 90 minutes.

Jo Filmer, who lives nearby, captured the incident on camera. She said motorists had stopped at the crossing because the red lights were flashing but were confused when the barriers were not lowered.

“Then a train actually passed over the crossing with the barriers raised,” she said.

Ms Filmer, of Plumpton Lane, said it was not the first time the equipment had failed.

“I find it very hard to believe that Network Rail have deemed it a safer, more reliable, and more cost-effective crossing, and this is not an uncommon occurrence,” she said.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “A fault with the level crossing in Plumpton meant that we were unable to lower the barriers for around 90 minutes. The flashing warning lights and audible warning continued to work correctly, both of which are clear indications to drivers and pedestrians not to cross.

“During this time, trains approaching the crossing were brought to a halt before being instructed to proceed with caution over the crossing at a top speed of 20mph. We also sent staff to help manage road traffic while the fault was fixed. We recognise that this may have looked alarming to drivers, but strict safety processes were followed throughout to keep road and rail users safe.

“While we are aware of historic reliability issues with this crossing, which have involved the barriers staying down for prolonged periods of time, we are not aware of other incidents similar to Wednesday’s.”