East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has investigated the situation following several complaints and clarifies issues surrounding difficulties arising at Trooperslane Rail Crossing.
Mr Dickson said: “I have received a detailed reply from Translink as to why occasionally there are lengthy queues at this particular section of the line. The crossing, installed a few years ago, is a Manually Controlled Barrier (MCB) which I understand, is the safest option on the network. It is designed to encourage road users to be cautious and safe when crossing over the railway.
“Traffic does back up onto the B90 but what happens with this type of barrier is that a signaller will receive an audible warning of trains approaching Trooperslane. The Signaller will then initiate the crossing sequence whilst viewing the operation via remote CCTV; audible yodels will immediately sound at the crossing, yellow road lights will also be displayed for three seconds, after which red road lights will flash and after five to seven seconds the lead barriers will begin to descend. This is to allow anyone already entering the crossing the opportunity to exit. When the lead barriers have fully lowered, the exit barriers will begin to descend and take approximately five seconds to completely lower, after which the audible warning will cease.
“This type of crossing has protecting approach signals on both side of the crossing, so therefore, trains will not be given clearance to proceed via signals unless all four barriers are fully lowered and the Operator (in Belfast Central station) has visual confirmation (via CCTV) that the crossing is completely clear. Once that is ascertained the Signaller will activate a ‘Crossing Clear’ button which will give clearance to proceed to approaching trains.
“When the train has passed the barriers will all raise. There are other safety features built into the level crossing, the design of which is based upon guidance from the ORR. This crossing type is also common throughout the UK.
“Moreover, Translink makes every attempt to schedule trains at the junction at the same time to reduce the number of barrier operations during the day. Clearly exact scheduling is not always possible as trains can be temperamental machines and delays do occur.”
Mr Dickson concluded: “Having looked into this on behalf of several of my constituents I feel sure that all that can be done, apart from realigning the track, is being done. I will, however, continue to monitor the situation on behalf of those who use the roads around Trooperslane Station, but safety at the crossing must be paramount.”