Trimley: Walkers at risk because trains failing to sound warning horns at level crossing

FEARS were voiced today over the possibility of a walker being killed on a level crossing – because trains are failing to blow their warning whistles.

Janet and Graham Knight, who live in a cottage next to the crossing at Gaymers Lane, Trimley St Mary, said many freight trains didn’t sound their horns.

“We have had at least two near misses with people, having checked up the line, going through the gates and then the train is suddenly here,” said Mrs Knight.

“My biggest fear is an incident on this crossing and someone being killed just because a train whistle wasn’t sounded.”

Catches have been put on the gates after the couple complained to Network Rail.

One of the many regular users of the crossing is visually-impaired and relies on the whistles.

“I carried out a survey one day and the majority of trains did not sound their horn,” said Mr Knight.

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Today though Network Rail said the whistleboard at the Gaymers Lane-Keepers Lane crossing is still in force at present but is to be removed because it was felt it was no longer needed.

“We have carried out an assessment and it is felt on that stretch of track trains do not need to sound their whistles,” said a spokesman.

Trimley St Mary Parish Council though believes the whistleboard is needed and is because of the possible danger to crossing users and has agreed to write to Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation about the issue.

Councillor Bryan Frost said: “Drivers have an obligation to observe the whistleboards and because people cross the line at that point we don’t want to see the boards taken away because of the vital warning they give.

“The user has to be aware has well. People need to be very careful using the crossings and do their very best to make sure the line is clear.”

Mr Frost urged villagers to keep an eye on the situation and to take note of specific instances, including time, crossing and, if possible, the engine number, if a train failed to whistle.

The crossings – some of which are open to farm traffic – are a vital part of the footpath network.

Council chairman Mary Dixon said: “There are boards approaching all the crossings along the line, and walkers can hear the whistles getting closer and closer – it gives you an idea of near the train is and whether you should wait to cross.”