Spike in near misses at a level crossing in East Sussex prompts safety warning: Tidemills level crossing

Monday 30 Nov 2020

Spike in near misses at a level crossing in East Sussex prompts safety warning

Region & Route:
Southern: Sussex
| Southern

Pedestrians in the Tidemills area are being reminded of the importance of obeying signals and signs at level crossings, following a spike in potentially dangerous incidents at the pedestrian level crossing near the site of the abandoned village of Tidemills in East Sussex.

There has been nine recorded near misses in only four months (between June and October 2020) where people have risked their lives by using the crossing in front of a train. The footpath crossing which takes people across the railway is regarded as the busiest pedestrian crossing in Sussex and has been identified as ‘very high risk’.

The dangerous behaviour at Tidemills include level crossing users filming the emergency stop of an oncoming train. In another incident, bike users narrowly missed a train while large groups of pedestrians have also experienced close calls by trying to beat approaching trains. Cameras have also captured a funeral procession using the crossing.

Each incident could have resulted in fatal or life changing consequences.

Local people and visitors are set to enjoy safer access across the railway at Tidemills in the South Downs National Park after Network Rail’s proposals for a stunning new footbridge were approved last year.

The footbridge, which has been designed to blend with the local landscape and heritage features of the old village of Tidemills, will provide safer access to Seaford beach and the surrounding landscape.

Once the new footbridge is in place, the footpath crossing will permanently close.

Tracy Partridge, East Sussex level crossing manager for Network Rail, said:

"I cannot stress enough the danger people are placing themselves and others in by not using crossings correctly. Pedestrians in Tidemills need to look in both directions and should not cross if they see a train approaching.

“Trying to save a couple of minutes is not worth the potentially devastating consequences.”

Jonathan Pine, British Transport Police Inspector, said:

“There is simply no excuse for not following safety procedures at level crossings. We have seen first-hand what the consequences of taking a shortcut over a level crossing can be, and we remind anyone using the pedestrian crossing near Tidemills to be patient and responsible when doing so.

“Education on using level crossings is essential, which is why we continue to work closely with Network Rail on improving knowledge on the dangers of misusing them. However, we will also prosecute anyone caught misusing level crossings in the hope this will make them think twice in future.

“If you see anyone misusing a level crossing, please contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40."

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Leonard Bennett

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