Rail chiefs dismiss safety worries after grandmother relives lucky escape at Fenland level crossing

RAIL chiefs have dismissed fears over the safety of a Fenland level crossing after a grandmother relived the moment she avoided a speeding train by a matter of seconds.

Jill Gooch, from Upwell, was startled to hear of last week's crash at the unmanned crossing near Littleport, which came a year after she had suffered her own nightmare at the same scene.

An elderly couple were trapped in their camper van for more than two hours last Tuesday when their vehicle crashed through the closed crossing barriers and collided with a Downham Market-bound train, leaving them with serious injuries. No allegations were made against the level crossing.

Mrs Gooch said she had come within seconds of a similar crash, while driving home with her daughter and young granddaughter more than a year ago.

'This crossing is not safe,' she said. 'We were coming home from Newmarket and I wasn't driving fast. I was just about on the Littleport crossing, the light flashed and the barrier started coming down straightaway – it was coming down on top of me.

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'I thought; 'what do I do? Should I brake or put my foot down?' Luckily I put my foot down and I made it to the other side just before a train came by. It could have been fatal.'

Network Rail said the crossing was entirely safe and there was a minimum of 27 seconds between the lights coming on and the train arriving. Crossing inspectors had observed almost 40 seconds warning during an inspection last week.

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A spokesman said: 'It should be stressed that no allegations were made against the level crossing at Littleport following the recent road traffic incident.

'The crossing was in full working order at the time of the incident, demonstrated by the fact that a number of other motorists were observing the warnings correctly.

'We would urge anyone who has any concerns about level crossings to contact us directly so we can investigate. Safety is our number one priority but we can only act on the information we receive.'

Mrs Gooch added: 'I feel, from the bottom of my heart, that I had to share what happened to me. It could have happened to other people as well.'

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