‘Someone’s life might be at risk’: Town’s ‘faulty’ level crossing causes delays for emergency services
PUBLISHED: 05:23 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:40 17 August 2020
A firefighter has criticised a town’s “troublesome” level crossing, after its ‘faulty’ system caused delays for emergency services.
Brandon’s level crossing has a history of causing problems in the town, with long delays, traffic congestion and faults with the obstacle detection system, which has previously posed a danger to drivers and pedestrians.
But on Friday, August 7, at around 3pm, the barriers caused delays to a Thetford fire engine on its way to a job in Weeting.
A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘We regret any issues that may have been caused by the delay to the fire service answering the call.
“We have identified that a foreign object was detected on the level crossing as a train was approaching and as a precaution, the signaller slowed the train down for safety.
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“This resulted in the barriers being lowered for longer than usual. We have checked the level crossing equipment and can confirm that the barrier equipment is working correctly.”
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But Matt Rickard, crew manager at Brandon Fire Station, says the level crossing have been causing problems for all emergency services and has called for the automatic system to be replaced with a rail crossing operator.
He said: “Not only does it make our life difficult when the barriers are down, but also when we are trying to respond to an emergency with built up traffic on the high street - when you’re driving a 20 tonne vehicle - is not easy.
“Since they have introduced the automatic system and got rid of the manned gate house, ourselves and other emergency services have had issues with them.
“Our job is it to protect and save lives and property and it’s hard when we are stuck on the other side of the gate knowing someone’s life might be at risk and we can’t get to them.”
Tim Edwards, Assistant Chief Fire Officer from Norfolk Fire and Rescue said: “I can confirm that crews were delayed due to the defective barriers and, as with any obstruction on the road impeding access, we would find an alternative route, and did so on this occasion.”
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