Headteacher’s concern as Broadland pupils involved in level crossing drama
Archant © 2013
A headteacher has written to parents after learning her pupils were on board a bus which was on a level crossing when the barriers were lowered.
In a letter to parents Carol Dallas, headteacher at Broadland High School, said she was very concerned to hear from parents about the incident.
Pupils from the Hoveton school were on their way home when the incident happened at the Salhouse railway crossing at about 3.30pm on Monday.
An investigation is being carried out by the British Transport Police (BTP) who are studying CCTV footage from the Konect bus involved.
The bus company is carrying out its own internal investigation and Norfolk County Council, which is reponsible for home to school transport, says it will conduct its own investigation at a later date.
A spokesman for the BTP said it would issue a statement when its investigation was completed.
The inquiry was launched by the BTP after it received reports of the incident at the Salhouse Road level crossing in Rackheath.
As the barriers were lowering it is claimed the bus reversed back from the level crossing.
A train, thought to be travelling from north Norfolk to Norwich, is believed to have passed just seconds later.
No collision took place but there were reports of screaming on the bus which had more than 20 pupils from the school aboard.
Steven Royal, operations manager at Konect Bus, which runs the number 53 service involved, said that the company was conducting an internal investigation.
He added that the bus driver, who was expected to be back at work today, had given a statement to the company which had been passed to the BTP along with CCTV footage from the bus.
The bus involved was a single decker going from Broadland High School to Rackheath, which left the school at 3.10pm.
An engineer from Network Rail inspected the crossing after the incident and it was deemed to be in working order.
A spokesman for Network Rail said there was no CCTV at the Salhouse Road level crossing, as it was an automatic half-barrier system which did not require it.
A spokesman for Abellio Greater Anglia, which operates services on the line, confirmed that the 2.47pm service from Sheringham to Norwich stopped at Salhouse station at 3.29pm before departing for Norwich and going through the crossing a few minutes later.
In her letter to parents Ms Dallas wrote: “Please know that we take the safety and welfare of our students very seriously indeed, and will do everything possible to ensure they get to and from school safely.”
The school is now offering additional support to pupils who are worried or concerned about the incident.
She said she had spoken to the BTP, Norfolk County Council’s Home to School Transport team and Konect Bus to register her concerns.
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “We are aware of an incident yesterday at the Salhouse Road level crossing in Rackheath involving a bus carrying students from Broadland High School.
“We will carry out our own investigation into the incident once the police have completed their enquiries.”
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