A mother who claims a railway worker deliberately closed the gates of a level crossing while she was driving across the track says she feared for her baby's life.
India Whitehead, 20, says she spent five horrifying minutes trapped on the tracks by Teynham Railway Station, while she pleaded with a Network Rail gatekeeper to let her through. Two female friends and India's seven-month-old baby Faithe were also in the car.I can’t quite believe that anyone working on the railways would do something quite so stupid and potentially lethal…
Newly qualified motorist India was driving to a friend's house on Station Row, which is only accessible via the manned level crossing.
She says the gatekeeper opened the first gate of the level crossing and was about to open the second when an argument broke out.
India claims the crossing keeper grew angry, apparently because she had started driving across before he had finished, and closed the gate behind her and returned to his office, shouting that he would teach her a lesson about ignoring safety rules.
She says he told her he had warned her before about starting to cross before both gates were open, but India, of Ospringe Road in Faversham, denies she has driven there before.Her friend backs up her story, and claims it’s not a unique occurrence.
Friend Lucy Bell-Reeves, 20, whom India was visiting, said some of the gatekeepers had "made life a misery" for her and other residents of Station Row for the last 18 months, sometimes refusing to open the crossing to let them access their homes.
A former resident of Station Row, who asked not to be named, said she moved away because of a similar experience of being blocked in on the line earlier this year.Curiouser and curiouser…
The BTP are said to be investigating her complaint, and it seems that technology – as ever – is likely to remove the threat of stroppy crossing keepers altogether:
Now the crossing is set to be automated, with the gatekeepers removed in December.