Councillor calls for closure of Wick level crossing after tragic deaths

Councillor Mike Northeast and Network Rail Level Crossing Manager Clive Robey visited Arundel signal box which controls Lyminster level crossing. The TV picture on view shows the view that the signalman has of the crossing to ensure the safe lowering of the barriers.
Councillor Mike Northeast and Network Rail Level Crossing Manager Clive Robey visited Arundel signal box which controls Lyminster level crossing. The TV picture on view shows the view that the signalman has of the crossing to ensure the safe lowering of the barriers.

A councillor is calling for a level crossing in Littlehampton to be closed after a recent rail tragedy which claimed the lives of a man and his grandson.

Arun district councillor Mike Northeast is calling on the council and the developers of the North Littlehampton housing estate to speed up building the proposed Lyminster bypass and road improvements so the level crossing in Toddington Lane in Wick can be closed.

Resident Marilyn Phipps with Nick Gibb at the Toddington Lane level crossing

Resident Marilyn Phipps with Nick Gibb at the Toddington Lane level crossing

His campaign comes after William Hallett, 15, and his grandfather Barry Hearnshaw, 72, died when a car and a train collided at the level crossing in Emms Lane, Barns Green, on February 17. Click here to read a tribute to them.

The crossing only had half barriers – the same as the Toddington Lane crossing.

Mr Northeast said: “Because of all the new house building and its usage as a tip rat run, the increasing volume of traffic now using Toddington Lane is causing major concerns about the safety of the level crossing and the earlier it can be closed and a proper footbridge provided the better.”

A few months ago, Mr Northeast met with Network Rail’s level crossing manager Clive Robey at the Arundel signal box, where level crossings are controlled.

Two people died at the level crossing in Barns Green. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

Two people died at the level crossing in Barns Green. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

He was told that since new cameras were installed at the Toddington Lane level crossing in 2015, 651 motorists have been caught and prosecuted for abusing the red warning lights.

The councillor said: “I’m astounded that people are still prepared to risk their own lives and compromise the safety of so many others at this level crossing even after all the recent high-profile media stories.”

He also called for families to warn their children of the ‘real dangers’ of playing near the crossing. Last year, MP Nick Gibb also called for the crossing to get an upgrade.

Mr Robey said an offence is committed when a vehicle passes over the white stop line while the red lights are flashing, leading to at least three points on a driving licence and a fine.