'You can be stuck there forever' - 20 minute delays at railway barrier
- Credit: Archant
Motorists are being hit with delays of up to 20 minutes stuck at railway barriers prompting calls to tackle "unacceptably long" delays.
Drivers can be "stuck there forever" at the barriers at Trimley St Mary station, with concerns raised by the community, the parish council and now Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey to Network Rail.
Andrew Tetley, chairman of Trimley St Mary Parish Council, said "operational changes" were mainly to blame for the problem rather than faulty equipment.
"It's not unusual to be stuck at the level crossing on Cordy's Lane for 20 minutes," he said. "There are a number of reasons for that.
"One of the reasons is the new passenger train is longer than the old one so when it stops at the station, it doesn't clear the level crossing by sufficient distance for them to open the gates.
"Another issue is the frequency of trains has increased.
"I'm sure the gates do break on occasion, but it's not just due to defective equipment. It's due to operational changes which have led to unacceptably long delays when a train passes.
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"It affects the residents of Cordy's Lane quite badly. If you time it wrong when you're leaving, you can be stuck there forever.
"If you've got a doctor's appointment, you're not going to allow 20 minutes of extra time to get to the doctor's just in case the gates are down are you? 20 minutes is ridiculous."
Ms Coffey has also pressed Network Rail for answers after residents reported concerns to her - and make fixing the issue "a priority".
She said: “I’m concerned to hear the problems with these newly installed barriers – and reports that they’re not lifting quickly enough after a train has passed.
"This is causing long delays with engineers often having to be called from Colchester.
“According to local residents this isn’t an isolated incident – and can sometimes happen multiple times a day.
"This is clearly an unacceptable situation and I’ve asked Network Rail to make fixing them a priority.”
A spokeswoman for Network Rail said: “We are sorry for the delays at the crossing at Trimley station.
"We have carried out some work to the barriers and signalling system to prevent this from happening again and will continue to monitor the situation.”