Childminder says faulty train crossing barrier led to moment of terror
PUBLISHED: 09:59 28 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:59 28 September 2019
Copyright: Archant 2019
A childminder has told of the terrifying moment a level crossing began to close as she and five children were in the middle of the train tracks.
Isabella Keaney, from Brandon, said she was forced to run to the other side as the barrier was closing without warning.
She said she and the children scraped under it just in time, with Ms Keaney suffering a bump on the head in the process in the September 25 incident.
However, Network Rail deny there was a problem and say video footage shows the warning lights were flashing and sirens sounding.
The town's level crossing is a regular talking point amid claims it regularly gets stuck down for up to 30 minutes at a time.
The malfunctioning level crossing has particularly impacted those on the school run, with Ms Keaney, who uses the crossing with three to five children everyday, claiming that local schools have been inundated with calls in the morning about it.
She said the only way to get around the crossing in Brandon was to use a footbridge, however this was impossible for people with children in buggies, meaning they had to drive a further 15 minutes around the railway through either Thetford or Hockwold.
The childminder wrote to National Rail after becoming concerned for the safety of those crossing, but says she was just given a generic response telling her they would come back to her and at the time of writing she has not received a reply.
She said: "I just hope me standing up and saying something will get it fixed. If it was an elderly person crossing maybe they wouldn't have been able to think so quickly and get across."
But a Network Rail spokesman said: "The level crossing at Brandon has been inspected and is functioning properly. Having reviewed the footage at the crossing on the morning on 25 September, due to the busy road and a tractor passing at the same time, the pedestrian may not have seen the warning lights, or heard the warning siren.
"The lights and audible siren let pedestrians and road users know a train is approaching and they must always stop when they see or hear them."