The planned modernisation of Littlehaven railway station’s level crossing is long overdue – according to a local councillor responding to safety concerns aired by residents.
Jim Rae (Con, Holbrook East) has worked closely with Network Rail over the past 18 months to keep all interested parties in the loop over proposed changes, ensuring residents had a chance to voice any concerns.
The works, to be carried out from September 30 until October 15, will see the crossing gates replaced by lifting barriers, with Network Rail’s highest level of protection.
“The gates at Littlehaven were probably installed by Noah or one of his relatives,” Mr Rae said. “The whole mechanism is way past antique, in fact they themselves could be classed as a health and safety issue.”
Last October one of the rods on the gate mechanism snapped, leading to the cancellation of 11 trains while Network Rail tried to find replacement parts, putting the train line four hours behind schedule.
Mr Rae agreed with the other councillor for the area, Andrew Baldwin, to take a lead on the issue, and he said that North Horsham Parish Council, as well as county councillors, and neighbouring district councillors, had been fully informed throughout the process.
At Mr Rae’s request, Network Rail presented information to the public, with him and Mr Baldwin circulating leaflets door to door telling residents about the meeting.
“They were grilled extensively by North Horsham Parish Council, myself and also members of the public,” he added.
Mr Rae said even the current signalman had said the new system, where the crossing is monitored via CCTV in Three Bridges, would be safer, even if it put him out of a job.
He added: “I do not see any long term issues here. If people are going to climb over a barrier it does not matter if it’s a barrier or a gate.”