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Questions over crossing safety

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Concern is growing over the safety of a village railway crossing.

A driver has reported a recent near-miss on the crossing at Station Road, Rolleston.

Mr Maurice Green (84) of Main Street, Balderton, a member of Southwell Golf Club, was driving over the crossing with his wife Mrs Vera Green (78) on his way to the club when he saw a train coming towards him. The gates were open as they approached the crossing.

Mr Green said the train, travelling from the Nottingham direction, was around 600 yards away.

“The train was far enough away for us to get over the crossing but had we gone across ten seconds later the train would have ploughed into us,” he said.

The club’s seniors captain, Mr Peter Branch (67) of Howitts Road, Bottesford, said there were also concerns about the time people had to wait at the crossing.

Mr Branch claimed the wait could be up to 40 minutes and, three to five times a week, members were waiting more than ten minutes.

“We have had complaints from members about the crossing,” said Mr Branch. “This cannot continue. It is one of the main routes to Southwell Racecourse and the golf club.”

The crossing at Rolleston is manually operated. Its gates remain closed at all times.

Drivers ring a bell to alert the signalman who opens the gates if it is safe.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “The level crossings are safe if people use them properly. It may be frustrating to wait but there is a very good reason why you do wait.

“At Rolleston the barriers are only down for the minimum amount of time needed.”

The spokesman said there had been a full investigation into the incident involving Mr Green and they found that the signalman was not to blame for the incident.

“We assume that the gates had been opened by a member of the public, not by the signaller,” he said. “The train driver reports seeing nothing untoward.”

The gates at Rolleston now remain padlocked until the signalman opens them, to prevent unauthorised opening.

The chairman of Rolleston Parish Council, Mr Frank Mitchell, said they were aware people were having to wait at the crossing but had received no complaints about it.

The general manager of Southwell Racecourse, Mr Nathan Corden, said they advised visitors to use either Racecourse Road or Occupation Lane.

“Station Road is not suitable for the volume of traffic that visits the racecourse,” said Mr Corden.

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