Level crossing warnings at Hampden Park

IT is thought drivers spend more time waiting to cross Hampden Park level crossing than any other in the country.

With a staggering 253 trains passing though on an average week day, it is no wonder that the level crossing at Hampden Park causes frustrations for drivers and pedestrians.

But Network Rail – which says it is 'likely' the Hampden Park crossing is the busiest in the country – is asking 'would it kill you to wait?' in a hard-hitting safety campaign.

The crossing is often misused by people who ignore the warning signs, lights and barriers.

Earlier this year a motorcyclist took a risk attempting to beat the barrier as it was being lowered and was struck.

Network Rail and Eastbourne Borough Council have discussed the lengthy waits, but because it is a built-up area they say there is no easy solution.

Ellie Reilly, community safety manager at Network Rail, said, "Jumping the gates, swerving around barriers and ignoring warning signs is sadly a sight we see all too often, and in many cases with tragic outcomes.

"Level crossings are safe, but if misused, they all pose very real risks.

"We're trying to hit home the message that running the risk at a level crossing is just not worth it. By trying to save a few seconds, you could end up losing your life."

This latest awareness event is part of Network Rail's ongoing Don't Run the Risk campaign which aims to combat level crossing misuse. It was organised by Network Rail's dedicated community safety team, in partnership with the British Transport Police (BTP), Sussex Police, Southern Railway, Eastbourne Borough Council and Hampden Park residents group.

Bob Gough, partnership co-ordinator for Eastbourne Borough Council, said, "Eastbourne Crime Reduction Partnership has been fully involved and wholly supports this initiative of informing people how to use level crossings safely."

Throughout the day the team monitored the crossing and offered advice to motorists and pedestrians. Leaflets, which ask 'would it kill you to wait?', were also handed out to members of the public.

Network Rail says Hampden Park is a rail crime hotspot, frequently experiencing anti-social behaviour from young people.

A spokesperson said there have been several incidents this year where items such as shopping trolleys were thrown onto the tracks, causing significant damage and leading to delays for passengers.

As a result of the vandalism, Network Rail's community safety team will be working with schools, colleges and local youth groups as part of the ongoing No Messin' campaign. The youngster will be encouraged to learn new skills or try something new instead of misbehaving on the railway during their free time.