Gridlock as railway gates fail

Lurgan station railway crossing
Lurgan station railway crossing

Calls for action have been made to deal with gridlock in Lurgan at the railway gates after another day of frustration.

During Monday’s evening rushhour, traffic came to a virtual standstill due to a fault at the William St railway gate.

The disruption caused tailbacks along across Lurgan from the town centre, through Shankill and Victoria Street and as far back as Silverwood.

Though locals are used to regular disruption as the gates at William Street, Lake Street and Bells Row are regularly down, the faulty gates caused longer and more widespread gridlock.

SDLP councillor has criticised local agencies for not taking a lead in helping to resolve this consistent problem.

Local councillor Joe Nelson, at last week’s Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council’s Economic Development Committee meeting, had called for at least one of the relevant agencies to take a lead.

The SDLP Cllr said: “At Council’s Economic Development committee I raised the still burning issue of the railway gates in Lurgan, particularly William Street.

“Frustration, delays, traffic jams and, not least, added pollution are daily issues for commuters in Lurgan and beyond.

“We have done some work on this in the Craigavon days but none of the agencies involved have taken a lead.

“I asked that Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council take the lead in resolving this long standing issue,” said Cllr Nelson.

A Translink spokesperson said: “Safety is our number one priority and level crossings are provided to ensure safe passage for our customers and members of the public.

“While we understand that crossings can be frustrating for drivers, especially in areas of heavy traffic, we work with our crossing keepers to ensure the delays to traffic are kept to a minimum.”

A spokesperson for Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council said: “In line with Council procedure a report will be brought forward to the Economic Development and Regeneration Committee for consideration.”

In relation to the faulty barriers a Translink spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there was a signalling issue at William Street level crossing in Lurgan on Monday evening (20th February) which caused problems for road traffic.

“Engineers were called to rectify the fault, which has been repaired. During the repairs, the barriers were lifted manually between trains to allow traffic to pass through.

“The level crossing at William Street receives a quarterly maintenance inspection and more detailed annual inspection in order to minimise the risk of equipment failure.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to people in the area”.