TRAFFIC crossing the busy the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line was disrupted after a level crossing gate was wrecked when a farm vehicle crashed into it.The gate was left "totally mangled" after the accident involving a combine harvester at Trimley station.
TRAFFIC crossing the busy the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line was disrupted after a level crossing gate was wrecked when a farm vehicle crashed into it.
The gate was left "totally mangled" after the accident involving a combine harvester at Trimley station.
Network Rail had to send an emergency team to deal with the incident, and the automatic level crossing in Station Road and Cordys Lane had to be manually operated all yesterday afternoon and evening until repairs could be carried out.
Investigations were today taking place into how the accident happened, and rail officials are studying CCTV to see if modifications are needed to the crossing.
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The accident happened at 12.38pm and left the barrier on the Cordys Lane side locked down, preventing traffic from getting across, while the street-wide gate on the Station Road side was ripped off.
Trimley St Mary Parish Council vice chairman Bryan Frost said the gate had been left "totally mangled".
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"It is very hard to say exactly what happened and for a while it was very confusing for everyone," he said.
"Network Rail sent workers to the scene very quickly and trains continued to use the line, although they were going through very slowly."
A spokeswoman for Network Rail said train services were not disrupted by the accident and staff had been able to release the Cordys Lane gate and get traffic moving reasonably quickly.
No-one was hurt and the combine was the only vehicle involved.
Repairs were carried out last night and a new gate put in place.
"The crossing could not be operated automatically until repairs were done and so we had a member of staff there to operate it manually," she said.
"Trains did move through the junction slowly as a precaution but there was no disruption to services.
"The crossing is very well signposted and there are flashing lights and warning bells to help the public use the crossing safely."
The automatic crossing was put in place a few years ago when it was decided that the Trimley signal box would be unmanned and monitored by CCTV from Colchester in future as part of an £8 million new signalling project on the line.
An extra warning light had to be included for vehicles leaving the Station Nurseries site as some cars turning out of the premises were finding themselves stranded on the line between the barriers.
There has also been some concern over the timing of the release of the barriers from horse riders who have found themselves stranded.
What do you think of the safety at level crossings – could they be improved? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk