Network Rail has admitted to Brandon’s MP that its level crossing is the worst of its type in East anglia for faults.
West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock met Network Rail’s area director for West Anglia Helen Warnack beside the notorious crossing with local residents and councillors.
Mr Hancock, whose mother-in-law lives on the Norfolk side of the crossing, said: “This level crossing still causes significant problems in the town. When it breaks, traffic backs up all the way through and we’ve heard today it’s the worst crossing of its type in East Anglia.
“Network Rail have promised an action plan to improve the technology and have promised they’ll set that out on paper.”
He said they were promising action by the end of the year.
He added: “I completely understand the frustration of local residents. It’s a main road with no nearby alternative to the crossing.”
Town councillor Victor Lukaniuk stressed that frustration and added: “The only way we’re going to force this is to take them [Network Rail] to court because traders here have lost money.
“Unless you hit these people in the pocket you’re going to get nothing done – it was experimental technology.”
He complained that when he had asked for a direct phone number for someone at Network Rail in East Anglia, he had been given one for a call centre in Hull.
Town councillor Norman Vant added: “It’s a network Rail problem and they should take the pain, not the traffic that goes across it – hold the trains up.”
For Network Rail, Ms Warnack admitted there was a ‘technology problem’ with sensors that had been installed to detect objects on the crossing following a collision elsewhere.
She added: “We’ve made improvements to the system and the number of failures has reduced, but we’re continuing to bring in adjustments to make it more reliable.
“We’ve double maintenance and we’ve been to the manufacturers.”
She said there were similar problems at other crossings of its type, but the Brandon crossing’s location made the impact worse.
She added: “I know it’s frustrating, but when the barriers go down it is failing safe.”
She added that Network Raise was committed to replacing more than 100 crossings in the next couple of years.