Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Safety review call for 'too fast' Cosham rail crossing

Cosham level crossing
Image caption Several people narrowly missed being trapped by the gates on Monday morning, which residents say happens daily

Network Rail has been urged to review the safety of a level crossing in Portsmouth where a woman suffered fatal injuries two years ago.

Six people have reported being hit by descending barriers or trapped on the line at Cosham in the past three years.

In 2008, 89-year-old Celia Matthews was hit on the head by the barrier and died later in hospital.

Network Rail said the crossing met the "required operational standards as set out by the Office of Rail Regulation".

The rail operator said it had increased the length of time it takes for the gates to come down in light of Mrs Matthews' death.

However, local resident Eileen Arnold, 72, who was recently hit by the gates said they "come down too quickly and without adequate warning".

She said: "I'd started to cross the gates, the lights were not flashing, as I got to the far side the gate actually came down and it didn't hit me hard but it did just touched my shoulder. It shook me up.

"I've had quite a few near misses where I've had to run and it's a regular occurrence.

"You never know what speed they're going to come down at."

Monitored by CCTV

Another resident, who did not want to be named because he has connections with the rail industry, said he was recently nearly caught between the barriers.

He said: "If I fell down I'd be hit by a train and if I got to the other side I knew there was only about a two foot gap between the barrier and the edge of the train.

"[I thought] I might have to hang on for dear life to the barrier to avoid being struck if the train was moving at any speed."

The crossing is controlled by an operator monitoring it through CCTV 4 miles (6.4km) away.

In its statement, Network Rail added: "The standards used are for the safety of the thousands of train passengers, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians who use the crossing every day.

"There are no plans to change the way this crossing operates."

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