Yapton crossing: why full barriers had to be installed

Letter from: Andy Faulkner, The Poplars, Yapton

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 10:30 am
Railway level crossing gates at Yapton. Pic Steve Robards SR2008122 SUS-201208-121828001

Having read your recent article on Yapton crossing, I would like to give some background as to why full barriers were installed.

Half barriers were in operation at the crossing for many years. In 2011 a planning application was agreed on appeal enabling 24 HGVs to operate from Lake Lane Nurseries.

Access to the main road network was via Lake Lane east, totally unsuitable for HGVs.

From this point the crossing became unsafe, because of turning movements of these large vehicles at Yapton crossing.

The Rail Regulator instructed Network Rail to impose a 20mph speed restriction in 2012 on both rail lines so that trains could be stopped safely if a road vehicle was foul of the crossing – subsequently it was increased to 30mph – which remained in force for seven years until full barriers were installed in 2019, causing delays to train services over much of the Southern rail network.

A subsequent planning application enabling 44 HGVs to operate from a base closer to the crossing was agreed by ADC in 2016 doubling the number of HGVs using the junction by the crossing.

Red light cameras were installed in 2017 to reduce the number of road-related safety incidents at the crossing, by now one of the most dangerous in the country.

Approval of the two planning applications without properly considering road access has led to the current situation and misuse by several road users necessitated installation of safer full barriers. Safety has now improved and train services, disrupted for seven years, have now been greatly improved with restoration of higher line speeds.