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‘It’s going to happen again’ - Rail bosses urged to take urgent action on ‘dangerous’ Suffolk railway crossing

PUBLISHED: 22:16 15 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:09 16 April 2018

Patrick Page at the Felixstowe Road level crossing.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Patrick Page at the Felixstowe Road level crossing. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Urgent calls have been made to improve a “dangerous” Suffolk railway crossing, which has seen serious accidents and near misses.

Peter Page, who lives near Routs crossing in Purdis Farm on the Ipswich-Felixstowe line, says the system is confusing, unreliable and another accident inevitable.

“It’s going to carry on and it’s going to happen again,” he said. “It’s only a matter of time before another accident or near miss.”

His warnings follow a crash on March 15 in which a driver suffered life changing injuries when hit by a freight train on the crossing.

-MORE: Felixstowe Road level crossing crash victim suffered ‘life-changing injuries’

Another motorist was just a second away from being hit in February when he ignored warning lights at the crossing.

Giedrius Puisys, 38, of Camden Road, Ipswich, admitted endangering safety on a railway and driving while disqualified, and was jailed for a year.

-MORE: Watch shocking footage of convicted drink-driver’s unsafe rail line crossing while banned

Mr Page, 60, who has lived near to the crossing since 2011, said the new electronic system made it more “dangerous” – and urged Network Rail to take action.

Under the system, drivers must check the light is green, press a button to open the gate, check the light is still green and then cross.

However, Mr Page claims the instructions confuse drivers – particularly those who speak a different language – and even native speakers make mistakes.

He said the post with the button is far from the road, meaning the light often changes to red before the driver has time to set off.

Mr Page says he has been left waiting for more than 20 minutes for a red light to change green – only to be told by a signal operator to drive through anyway. On other occasions, he says the electric system has broken down and drivers are expected to disconnect pistons to open gates manually.

Mr Page says the train drivers have “just 15 seconds” between seeing the crossing and passing it - not enough time to stop. He believes Network Rail needs to introduce an automated barrier. “But whenever I call, they don’t seem to be interested,” he added.

The crossing has been closed since the latest accident meaning drivers must use the Orwell Truck Stop to access the farm.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are aware of the inconvenience caused and there is a suitable alternative available while we explore options to resolve access. Level crossings pose one of the biggest risks to public safety on the railway and we are committed to finding alternatives wherever possible.”

The identity of a man found dead in a Colchester car park yesterday has been confirmed by police.

A charity for victims of childhood sexual abuse in Suffolk and Norfolk has appointed former Ipswich Town and England footballer Kieron Dyer as its latest ambassador.

Suffolk County Council leader Colin Noble is facing the fight of his political life after being challenged for the top job by fellow cabinet member Matthew Hicks.

A brand new imaging centre at Colchester Hospital which aims to speed up diagnosis welcomed its first patients today.

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