Police highlight railway danger

THE dangers of ignoring safety barriers at Rye’s two rail crossings were underlined this week.

Network Rail joined forces with British Transport Police on Tuesday afternoon to hold a special awareness event in the town.

Police filmed motorists using the crossings at Ferry Road and Ropewalk in order to prosecute anyone attempting to jump the barrier. They also handed out safety leaflets and gave advice to pupils from Rye College and Rye Primary School.

Network Rail say 2,000 people are seen to misuse level crossings every year, with motorists ignoring warning lights or weaving round barriers

Up to 60 people are killed on the railway every year by crossing the tracks, taking short cuts, messing around or playing chicken at crossings.

A few years ago, a motorist had a miraculous escape at the nearby Winchelsea crossing when his four wheel drive vehicle was hit by a train. The campaign was supported by Rye councillor Adam Smith, who has raised concerns over safety issues at the crossings and has asked the county council’s highways department for a more detailed safety report on the Ferry Road crossing before a new supermarket is built nearby.

Network Rail community safety manager Richard Pedley said: “The event aims to educate level crossing users about the dangers of misuse.

“We wanted to emphasise that taking risks is just not worth it, for the sake of a few minutes.

“The Rye crossings are by no means the worse in the region for misuse but they are of concern as there are two schools close by and both crossings are heavily used.

“Those using the crossings when we carried out the exercise on Tuesday were well behaved, which was good to see.

“We intend to follow this up with visits to the schools.”