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Carnoustie level crossing safety plea has “fallen on deaf ears”, claims councillor

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A Carnoustie councillor has demanded a showdown meeting with rail bosses over continuing safety concerns at the town’s busy level crossing on the east coast main line.

Following two recent court cases involving OAP drivers dodging under descending barriers at the Station Road crossing, Independent Brian Boyd has called for fresh scrutiny of the safety measures in place at what was previously labelled the most problematic crossing in the Dundee and Angus area.

Mr Boyd said he had been alarmed by the circumstances which led to two drivers in their mid-70s appearing in the dock on charges of careless driving.

Both were fined and had penalty points imposed on their driving licenses. Despite the convictions, Network Rail has not singled out Carnoustie for special attention or additional action.

The rail agency highlighted lights and barriers at the Carnoustie crossing, including warnings for drivers exiting an adjacent car park.

A spokesman said: “Misuse of level crossings is one of the biggest risks to rail safety.

“Motorists jumping the lights or ignoring barriers at level crossings still occurs too regularly on our network and we work hard alongside the BTP to educate motorists on the risks and to prosecute those who endanger themselves and others by failing to stop.”

Mr Boyd has previously led calls for extra signage to be sited on the approaches to the crossing, including a High Street warning for drivers turning into Station Road.

Mr Boyd said: “I totally disagree with the comments from Network Rail and invite them to meet with me so I can show them how poor the visibility of the lights signage and barriers are.

“Over two years ago meetings took place with the then three councillors and the head of roads.

“Clearly the feedback, requesting flashing lights and signage at the top of Station Road and further along Links Parade to make the area safer, has fallen on deaf ears with Network Rail.

“If drivers continue to take chances at this crossing there could be an incident involving absolute carnage,” said Mr Boyd.

“If they feel safety is paramount they should be meeting with the new councillors and listen to our recommendations of how the problem can be resolved.”

Both of the OAPs who ended up in the dock at Forfar Sheriff Court had ignored red flashing warning lights at the crossing.

One motorist veered onto the opposite side of the road to beat the barrier because he was late for a golf game.

The offence was described as a “moment of madness” by the local driver, who estimated he had passed safely over the level crossing up to 30,000 times.

In 2017, British Transport Police revealed they had been called to the Carnoustie crossing more than 30 times in 12 months over incidents including near misses and drivers failing to obey warning signals.

An awareness day was held at the crossing to educate drivers about the risks of ignoring warnings after BTP officers said the Carnoustie crossing was the most problematic on a beat stretching from Dundee to Montrose.

“High-speed trains pass through at 100mph. You can imagine the kind of carnage that could cause if you cross illegally,” said BTP.

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