Police called to ‘dangerous’ fault at Horsham level crossing

Confusion as one barrier is down with the other upright.
Confusion as one barrier is down with the other upright.

Police were called to a level crossing in Horsham on Saturday when worried drivers reported a ‘dangerous’ fault with the crossing’s emergency barriers.

Concerned motorists called for help when the barriers across the rail line in Parsonage Road, Horsham, failed to operate correctly while the emergency red lights were flashing.

They reported the barrier going up and down twice, even though the red lights were flashing, leading to confusion for drivers who were unclear whether it was safe to cross.

Giorgio Cavallo was on his way to his mother’s house when the barriers came down across the road just before 9am. “The level crossing gate arm went up whilst the red lights were still flashing. A white car at the front of the queue proceeded to make his way over the crossing ... I’m guessing he soon realised something was wrong. The barrier on the other side of the road was still down.

“The driver put his car in reverse and resumed his position in front of the barrier. Moments afterwards a train went past.

“The red signal lights continued to flash, but I’m guessing that the driver of the white car, being so close to the barrier, could not see it, so when the barrier went up, he naturally drove forward.

“In the duration that I was present, the barrier went up and down a couple of times but mainly stayed open.”

Cars at the head of the queue turned around and drove away, but Giorgio said: “I could not leave the scene as it was dangerous.”

He called rail officials on a roadside SOS phone and also alerted police, who said another driver had also reported it. “It was very unsafe,” said Giorgio, 48, who lives in Lower Beeding.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Police closed Parsonage Road following reports of a fault at the level crossing about 9.04am.

“Network Rail engineers were called, and the issue was resolved and the road reopened as of 10.30am.”

Giorgio said he wished to highlight what had happened at Parsonage Road after reading of concerns raised by relatives at the inquest of a teenager and his grandad who died when their car was struck by a train at a similar crossing in Barns Green.

Network Rail has been asked to comment on the incident in Parsonage Road.