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Woman died "while medics were stuck at crossing"
7:00am Thursday 5th December 2013 in News
A WOMAN died in East Tilbury after paramedics were held up at village’s level crossing, an MP has revealed.
Stephen Metcalfe, the MP for Basildon and East Thurrock, told of the tragedy as his research concluded 93 per cent of residents in East Tilbury think the crossing is a problem.
Network Rail and Thurrock Council have now agreed to explore the possibility of replacing the crossing, which causes long delays and poses serious safety concerns, with a bridge or an underpass.
And council leader John Kent told how there had been a “significant breakthrough” in talks with funding available for change.
Mr Metcalfe’s consultation involved 450 residents, many of whom were concerned things will only get worse as freight trains, up to half-a-mile long, from the new £1.5billion superport begin using the railway line.
Mr Metcalfe said: “I appreciate the strength of feeling that this issue engenders and I am committed to keeping the pressure on to find a solution.”
The MP told how one response read: “My sister in law had a massive heart attack while visiting us and when the ambulance finally arrived they apologised for taking so long as they had to wait for several trains to pass. She died when she reached the hospital.” It is believed she died within the last six months.
A first response paramedic gets held up at the East Tilbury crossing - and with no alternative route, its stuck there until the barriers go up. Long queues are also building up along Princess Margaret Road.
Joe Blandy, 23, who lives in Coronation Avenue, is keen on the crossing being replaced. She said: “That would be fantastic. The amount of time residents spend waiting there is an absolute nightmare.”
East Tilbury ward councillors John Purkiss and Barry Palmer have been lobbying for months over the issue, arguing up to 2,000 residents are cut off when the barriers are down.
Mr Purkiss said: “Now Network Rail is acknowledging there is an issue and we have promises from both Network Rail and the council leader that a full study will be carried out.”
Mr Kent said: “Everyone who has ever visited East Tilbury knows a bridge, a tunnel or a brand new entrance to the village is necessary – and all the more so once the London Gateway port starts building up steam.
“I am delighted to say we have had a significant breakthrough in the last few days, with Network Rail.
“They have agreed to look at a joint funding agreement to investigate options to remove the existing crossing and I can also say Thurrock Council has also identified funding for the work.”
Finally, the paramedic can proceed to the emergency in East Tilbury
Residents react on Facebook:
*Cynthia Adams said: “These gates are the bane of our lives and to actually get to escape the area is impossible at times. People are taking their lives in their hands by jumping the gates when the lights are flashing. There appears to be more and more incidents of cars dodging the gates as they come down and it's a miracle nobody has been killed...yet. I've lived in the area for 40 years and every day the tailback gets longer and longer.”
*Louise Bromfield said: “It affects both East Tilbury and Linford. I live down Lower Crescent and have waited for quite a while to turn into my road because of the gates due to traffic building up that far. God forbid there is ever a fire in et as the fire services would turn up to a gutted house.”
*Steven Card said: “I was stuck at the gates for nearly 30 minutes one night. I was trying to turn out of Halt Drive to go into East Tilbury, I was behind someone else trying to do the same, they were let out as the gates opened but I wasnt so I had to wait for the traffic to ease but still wasnt let out when the gates closed again, once the gates opened again I still had to wait until the gates closed again before I was let out. Ridiculous!”
*Ruby Duff said: “I moved because of the crossing.”
*Carrie Plumb said: “I go through the crossing to get to the school and I'm finding I need to get through before 8:30 if not my kids could end up running into school because they then won't open until almost 8.40. It's crazy.”
*John Allen said: “I have driven a licensed taxi for around 15 years now in Thurrock and several times been caught up at the station crossing, with the barriers being stuck in the down position for over half an hour!”
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