Shocking CCTV footage has captured the moment two riders on a moped narrowly avoided a fatal collision with a speeding train after ignoring red lights and dodging barriers at a level crossing in West Sussex. The incident occurred on February 21 at Toddington crossing, on a 70mph stretch of railway between Angmering and Ford/Littlehampton. The driver of the Brighton to Southampton service, which was travelling at up to 70mph, was forced to make an emergency stop to avoid hitting the reckless riders.
The riders’ actions, which are a criminal offence, caused delays to Southern passengers. Network Rail’s route director for Sussex, Lucy McAuliffe, stated that “We came very close to having two deaths on our railway last week and a train driver living with the memories of that. We try to make our network as safe as possible but we do need people to work with us by paying attention to red lights and barriers.”
The incident has been widely condemned, with Inspector Emma Boulton of the British Transport Police stating that “This is some of the most stupidly reckless behaviour on a level crossing I have seen in my entire career. These riders blatantly ignored the red light in front of them and were just split seconds away from a truly catastrophic collision, which I have no doubt would have had fatal consequences. This footage should serve as a very explicit reminder to everyone of the dangers of misusing level crossings.”
Samantha Facey, Southern’s Health, Safety & Security Director, added that “Today we could be talking about a double death with all the misery and heartache that would cause the bikers’ families and friends. No-one should have to be put through this trauma and none of our passengers should find themselves put at risk in this way.”
The Toddington level crossing is an Automatic Half-Barrier crossing, which operates automatically, with lights flashing, sirens sounding and barriers descending 27 seconds before trains are due across the road. The barriers extend halfway across the road to prevent anyone from being trapped behind them if they end up on the crossing. Authorities are urging anyone with information about the incident to contact the British Transport Police.