Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Thursday, 5 February 2009

Safety barriers jammed 21 times

Alloa Train Station
The rail link reopened in May 2008 after a break of 40 years

Safety barriers at level crossings along the new Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link have failed 21 times in the last nine months, it has emerged.

Since the line reopened in May 2008, the gates, which prevent vehicles crossing, jammed at three locations.

Network Rail, which maintains the barriers, said the issue was not one of safety but one of "annoyance".

The 13-mile stretch of track was reopened to carry passengers and freight after a break of 40 years.

According to reports, the barriers jammed four times at Cambus, five times at Blackgrange and 12 times at Waterside.

'Annoyance issue'

A spokesman for Network Rail said a hydraulic mechanism in the barriers was failing when they were in the down or "safe" position.

He said: "There is no danger of anyone getting caught on the track.

"The hydraulic problem is when the barriers are already down not when they are raised.

"We have had a concentration of failures within this area.

"This is not a safety issue, it is an issue of annoyance for the people trying to carry on their journey."

The spokesman added that the problems were currently being fixed on an "ad hoc" basis but that permanent solutions would be implemented.

Shaking properties

Transport Scotland, which oversaw the building of the track at a cost of over 85m, is currently carrying out maintenance work on the track.

A spokesman said the work was "snagging" and was being done at no additional cost to the tax payer.

The work, which began a fortnight ago, will continue overnight this weekend and next weekend.

Local SNP MSP Keith Brown said he had written to Transport Scotland requesting a meeting to discuss the new link.

He is also set to attend a public meeting on 16 February at Causewayhead to discuss concerns by those living near the line who say the late-night running of freight services is shaking their properties and making it hard to sleep.

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