Concerns about Polegate and Hampden Park

Polegate Crossing.
Polegate Crossing.

Changes to the level crossing barriers in the area have caused concern in the community, with worries about safety and disruption to railway services.

A former railway worker Peter Cox said he had reservations about the new system at the Polegate level crossing.

New ‘obstacle detectors’ have been installed at the level crossings at Polegate, Berwick and the two Pevensey crossings.

But Mr Cox said he was concerned the footfall is too high at Polegate for this type of system, and it could cause problems, especially as eight trains pass through the station each hour.

He is concerned about the system because an obstacle blocking the track at the level crossing when barriers are down will drive railway traffic to a halt. Because there is no CCTV at the crossing someone would have to investigate the situation before trains could move.

“I am not against technology and moving forward,” said Mr Cox. “But they have got themselves into a pickle. I am looking for safety and efficient movement for all users.”

This has come after signal boxes were demanned at the four crossings, and another was demolished at Hampden Park last week. At Hampden Park signalling will now be controlled at a centre in Three Bridges, with CCTV.

And on Tuesday, a woman in a wheelchair had to be rescued by horrified onlookers when she got trapped under barriers at Hampden Park level crossing. The barriers came down as the disabled woman was being pushed over the crossing and three tree surgeons quickly pulled her to safety.

Witnesses say the disabled woman’s companion began pushing her across the crossing from Mountfield Road towards Brassey Parade when the barriers were up and the lights were not flashing.

When they were almost at the other side the barriers were lowered and the two women were trapped.

Luckily, quick thinking tree surgeons, Andrew Catt, his brother Stephen and son Michael were waiting at the crossing and when they saw what was happening, jumped out of their truck and pulled the woman and her companion to safety. Network Rail says it is investigating the incident.