Short of realigning the track, Translink is doing all it can to reduce traffic queues at Trooperslane railway crossing.
That was the message from East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson after he raised users’ complaints about the problem with the public transport company.
Mr Dickson said: “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.”
Translink, he added, attempts to schedule trains at the junction at the same time to reduce the number of barrier operations during the day.
“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.”
Reinforcing the safety message, a spokesperson for Translink said: “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to explain to our stakeholders how these systems work and demonstrate that they have been designed to maximise safety and minimise disruption to pedestrians and motorists.
“We would remind members of the public to take care at level crossings, adhere to warning signals and not to try to beat the barriers on foot, bicycle or in a vehicle.”