Woman terrified after being hit by level crossing barrier

Recovering at home ... Violet Tarrant, 89
Recovering at home ... Violet Tarrant, 89

An elderly woman was left terrified and hurt after the barrier at Polegate level crossing slammed on her head.

Violet Tarrant, 89, suffered a head injury and said it ‘practically skinned’ her arm after knocking her on the ground on Friday (November 18). Mrs Tarrant, who was about to step off the crossing, said, “I felt full of beans, it was just a normal day, and then it happened.

“This sledge hammer just came down and bonked me on the head and knocked me for six. I didn’t know what had hit me. It frightened the life out of me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the shock.

“It threw me to the side, I just curled up and screamed, the back of my neck was wet with blood, I was thinking a train was going to come along any minute.”

Luckily a man called Tony came and helped her up and told her everything was going to be okay. She described him as a ‘nice gentleman’ in his 50s or 60s and is keen to get in touch with him.

Now Mrs Tarrant, a great-great-grandmother of Amberley Road, feels something needs to be done to stop this happening again. She said, “I have done that walk every week. I don’t play chicken on train lines.

“I respect them and I get on and get off as quickly as I can. All I want is to make sure nobody else gets caught like I did.”

Her daughter Gill Clare said, “She’s in shock, she was reliving it, she was so frightened.

“She hasn’t been out since. But she’s a fighter and incredibly independent. From the sounds of the alarm to the barrier going down is eight seconds. That’s nothing.” She says the alarm should go off sooner so pedestrians have more of a warning, “The rail company say it was all working – so that’s supposed to happen?”

Network Rail said, “This will have been extremely distressing for Mrs Tarrant and her family and we hope she recovers quickly.” It said the crossing was in ‘full working order’ and CCTV of the incident showed it was ‘working correctly’.