RECKLESS pedestrians are taking their lives into their own hands by leaping over railway barriers in Streethouse, claims a former councillor.
Bob Martindale, who served on Featherstone Town Council for four years, says long delays at Streethouse level crossing mean people try to cross the tracks while the barriers are down.
Mr Martindale, who lives nearby on Lynwood Close, said: “I live about a quarter of a mile away from the tracks and I’ve seen people jumping over the barriers to get to the other side.
“If two trains are coming then fair enough, but the length of time the barriers are down means people are getting annoyed. Someone’s going to get knocked down or killed, it’s going to happen. You can see people thinking ‘I’ll just go over and get to the other side’.”
Mr Martindale said that the barriers come down so often people are even becoming trapped on the lines.
He said: “Two people in mobility scooters have been trapped on the crossings in recent months. The barriers have come down so fast while they were going over, they were then trapped for up to nearly ten minutes. Luckily they manage to stay near the barrier but were really frightened.
“One resident was going over in his car last week when the barriers were coming down. He managed to get his foot down and get over just before they got down.”
Mr Martindale says he has been writing to Network Rail for two years, urging them to look into the length of time barriers are down at the crossing.
The railway company said the crossing was manually controlled by the signaller at Wakefield Kirkgate station through CCTV.
Vicki Smith, community safety manager for Network Rail, said: “Any misuse of level crossings is incredibly dangerous. I understand that waiting can be frustrating, but warnings including lights and barriers are there to protect the public from an incredibly busy rail network.
“Recklessly ignoring them seriously puts your life and potentially others at risk. We urge people to obey the warnings and not risk their lives or cause costly delays to the network.”