Berkshire

Crackdown on drivers at Wokingham level crossing

A crackdown has started on motorists who jump the red lights at a level crossing where two people were killed.

During the rush-hour up to 30 drivers go through red lights at the crossing in Waterloo Road, Wokingham, Berkshire, British Transport Police figures show.

But from Tuesday motorists caught out face being fined and sent on a driver's awareness course.

The council said there were plans for a link road to alleviate congestion but funding has not been secured.

Gut-wrenching fear

Pc Chris Shepherd, the railway station liaison officer for British Transport Police, is behind the campaign.

He told BBC News: "I am well aware of the delay factor and people do sit at these crossings for extended periods of time.

"[But] if you ever speak to train drivers who have had near misses with vehicles, it is a sense of gut-wrenching fear that drives through their heart as they pile towards [the crossing] at sometimes 70mph.

"The stopping distance for a train at that time is about a quarter of a mile and it is that sense of inevitability - they are completely helpless, there is nothing they can do."

Pc Shepherd added that as part of the campaign BTP would be "engaging with local communites, the Highways Agency and local councils as well as looking at road layouts".

"We are using problem-solving plans to identify other issues in order to be able to alleviate the problem if not significantly reduce the time delay," he said.

Councillor Keith Baker, Wokingham's executive member for highways, said: We are never going to totally solve the problem because there will always be people who jump the lights."

On 6 March, car dealer David Francis Brown, 58, of Nine Mile Ride, died when his car was hit by a train in Waterloo Road.

Two years earlier, a woman died when she was struck by a train on the same crossing.

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