Frightened to walk across level crossing after barrier struck me twice

FEARFUL: Letitia Lawrence beside the railway crossing in Poole town centre, where she has been struck twice by the barriers

FEARFUL: Letitia Lawrence beside the railway crossing in Poole town centre, where she has been struck twice by the barriers

First published in News by

An 80-year-old Parkstone woman has said she is fearful to go across Poole High Street's level crossing after being struck by the closing barriers twice.

Letitia Lawrence told the Echo on both occasions the gates had opened to let waiting pedestrians across - then closed again within moments - with people still jamming the crossing.

The first time the barrier came down against her arm, the second time against her shoulder - each time she narrowly avoided a serious blow.

Letitia told the Echo she had been halfway across when the warning sounded – and the barriers closed “almost instantaneously.” On both occasions it was around 11am.

She said: “On Friday it was so crowded you could hardly move. There was a woman behind me with a pram and young children shouting ‘quick, quick’. It was awful – you couldn’t help but panic. I’ve seen so many near misses since they altered those gates. I thought they were upgrading them, not downgrading. It’s quite dangerous. It makes me think twice before going shopping down there. A lot of people of all ages have said to me it makes them nervous going across there.”

Letitia, who has lived in Poole for 50 years, said she had never experienced such a problem with the gates before.

A spokesman for Network Rail said they had a “tough job balancing safety with the needs of the many people who use the High Street”, adding: “In this instance, the signaller monitoring the crossing has to judge whether there is a long enough gap between trains to lift the barriers and reduce some of the queues that will have formed on the street before the next train arrives.

"It is not an exact science and sometimes the barriers will only be up for a short time. It is a difficult balance and we cannot always wait for the crossing to be completely free from people before triggering the warning sequence - the High Street is very busy.

"We continue to encourage people to pay attention to the lights and warning sounds and while we appreciate it is frustrating to have to wait, it is better to be safe."

Network Rail upgraded the signalling and equipment at the crossing in February and March this year. Borough of Poole is currently carrying out a number of surveys to assess barrier downtime following complaints that the barriers were now closing earlier for longer.

Comments (13)

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1:05pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Benagain says...

As I have said before. We need a screen telling us how many seconds away the trains are. Should be quite simple in this day and age.
As I have said before. We need a screen telling us how many seconds away the trains are. Should be quite simple in this day and age. Benagain
  • Score: 14

1:10pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Sir Beachy-Head says...

If the non disabled used the bridge there would be no problem. The tattoed lardy locals could do with the exercise.
If the non disabled used the bridge there would be no problem. The tattoed lardy locals could do with the exercise. Sir Beachy-Head
  • Score: 17

1:14pm Thu 21 Aug 14

chrisii1991 says...

They shouldnt go bck up then down seconds later,they should stay down
They shouldnt go bck up then down seconds later,they should stay down chrisii1991
  • Score: 5

2:12pm Thu 21 Aug 14

speedy231278 says...

There is ample time for people to clear the crossing before the gates lower. It is very simple. If the warning lights start flashing, do NOT start crossing the line. Ever read the Highway Code? The only way you are going to be hit by a barrier is by not using the crossing correctly.
There is ample time for people to clear the crossing before the gates lower. It is very simple. If the warning lights start flashing, do NOT start crossing the line. Ever read the Highway Code? The only way you are going to be hit by a barrier is by not using the crossing correctly. speedy231278
  • Score: 28

4:26pm Thu 21 Aug 14

British_Beef says...

The timings do not allow enough time for the disabled to get across. If you believe otherwise try getting across in a self propelled wheelchair. The whole area needs investment.
The timings do not allow enough time for the disabled to get across. If you believe otherwise try getting across in a self propelled wheelchair. The whole area needs investment. British_Beef
  • Score: 4

4:59pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Chief-Wiggum says...

Out of all the people that use this crossing its funny how the same lady has been 'struck' on 2 seperate times? Compensation claim brewing?
Out of all the people that use this crossing its funny how the same lady has been 'struck' on 2 seperate times? Compensation claim brewing? Chief-Wiggum
  • Score: -1

5:34pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Lord Parkstone says...

Maybe if she got a wriggle on and stopped dawdling it wouldn't be an issue. No doubt she is the same sort of elderly person that crosses all of a sudden without looking in front of approaching traffic or is an elderly driver that drives without regard for other road users?
Maybe if she got a wriggle on and stopped dawdling it wouldn't be an issue. No doubt she is the same sort of elderly person that crosses all of a sudden without looking in front of approaching traffic or is an elderly driver that drives without regard for other road users? Lord Parkstone
  • Score: 7

5:39pm Thu 21 Aug 14

mac340v8 says...

Never had this problem when it was a road, and you could drive up to the Jolly Miller😉
Never had this problem when it was a road, and you could drive up to the Jolly Miller😉 mac340v8
  • Score: 6

6:30pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Gingertree says...

What a crock of crap What she means is the lights and bell start and she trys to get across before the barriers start to go down You see some chancer try it every single poxy time
What a crock of crap What she means is the lights and bell start and she trys to get across before the barriers start to go down You see some chancer try it every single poxy time Gingertree
  • Score: 1

7:09pm Thu 21 Aug 14

dicey halo says...

The new barriers do come down much quicker than the previous barriers. The problem is people will keep walking across the tracks until these barriers start coming down. The faster lowering means people cant get fully across in time, getting trapped or hit by the barrier (seen this quite a few times now). A sooner sounding alarm giving those who have started crossing time to clear and a bit of common sense is what is needed. If you hear the alarm... speed up across the tracks if you have already started crossing, or stop and wait/use the bridge - simple really.
The new barriers do come down much quicker than the previous barriers. The problem is people will keep walking across the tracks until these barriers start coming down. The faster lowering means people cant get fully across in time, getting trapped or hit by the barrier (seen this quite a few times now). A sooner sounding alarm giving those who have started crossing time to clear and a bit of common sense is what is needed. If you hear the alarm... speed up across the tracks if you have already started crossing, or stop and wait/use the bridge - simple really. dicey halo
  • Score: 5

8:13pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Sir Beachy-Head says...

I spy with my little eye, something beginning with T....

My favourite advert.
I spy with my little eye, something beginning with T.... My favourite advert. Sir Beachy-Head
  • Score: -5

9:37am Fri 22 Aug 14

ryan_gazzan@hotmail.com says...

Stand well away from them and get a bloody life woman !! wHINGE wHINGE
Stand well away from them and get a bloody life woman !! wHINGE wHINGE ryan_gazzan@hotmail.com
  • Score: 0

10:55am Fri 22 Aug 14

Carolyn43 says...

I don't use the crossing much, but the last time I did, I had just started to cross, THEN the siren sounded after I was half a dozen steps onto the crossing, and the barrier started coming down almost immediately. If I hadn't been able to hurry up, I'd have had the same problem as this lady.
I don't use the crossing much, but the last time I did, I had just started to cross, THEN the siren sounded after I was half a dozen steps onto the crossing, and the barrier started coming down almost immediately. If I hadn't been able to hurry up, I'd have had the same problem as this lady. Carolyn43
  • Score: 0

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