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Network Rail install new warning system for pedestrians in Whitstable, Tankerton, Lenham and Aylesford

By Ellis Stephenson

A new system has been brought in to improve safety and prevent tragedies at some of the county's level crossings.

Network Rail has installed a solar-powered device which makes the sound of a train's horn when it senses carriages approaching.

The system, which gives two warnings in case the first cannot be heard, has been implemented at footpath crossings in Whitstable, Tankerton, Lenham and Aylesford.

Covtec in use at Ham Shades Lane in Whitstable. Picture: Network Rail

It follows the death of Sacha Wheeler, who was listening to her headphones when she was hit by a train at a footpath crossing in Whitstable in 2015.

Video: Network Rail install warning system

The prompted Network Rail to overhaul safety measures at the notorious crossing, where four people have been killed in five years.

In a separate case, signalman Doug Caddell was left unconscious and suffered a brain injury when a car crashed into the road gate he was closing at a level crossing in East Farleigh in 2015.

Network Rail is facing court action, and previously pleaded not guilty to two charges involving health and safety breaches.

South east route managing director John Halsall said: "Level crossings remain the biggest source of risk on the rail network.

Signalman Doug Caddell recovering at home following the collision

"We want everyone who lives or works near the railway to be safe, which is why we’re investing in a variety of projects to improve level crossing safety as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.

"This involves major investments such as new footbridges as well as a range of smaller yet effective improvements such as new technology which also help reduce risk and save lives."

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