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Middleton Towers rail barrier damaged by freight train after being lowered too early





A rare 60-year-old railway barrier was seriously damaged after a train struck it when an operator lowered it too early.

The crossing gate was knocked down by a sand freight train leaving the disused Middleton Towers station last Saturday afternoon.

The Lynn News has been told that this was an avoidable incident, caused by an error by a member of the crossing gate crew.

The 60-year-old gate at the Middleton station was smashed into by a train, leading to it being replaced
The 60-year-old gate at the Middleton station was smashed into by a train, leading to it being replaced

The gates, the closest ones to the station house along Station Road, are considered rare and are not easy to replace.

Alex Brammer, the managing director of Middleton Towers Restoration Group - which is currently fixing up the station - said this is because they are bespoke and are made overseas.

“A member of our group saw a photo on social media which showed that the crossing gate had been severely damaged,” he told the Lynn News.

A new temporary gate has been fitted. Picture: Norfolk Disused Railways
A new temporary gate has been fitted. Picture: Norfolk Disused Railways

“The crossing gate was let go before the last wagon had left the station. The whole gate was just completely ruined.

“They had to close the whole road to replace it with a temporary metal one.”

A Network Rail spokesperson confirmed: “An incident was reported on Saturday, May 18 at the road crossing next to the disused Middleton Towers station.

“A crossing gate made contact with a freight wagon as it was passing and was damaged.

“This has since been replaced with a temporary gate until permanent repairs can be made later in the year.”

The temporary replacement is planned to be in place until in September or October, allowing for a new gate to be purchased and delivered.

“We are of course disappointed that the gate is now gone, but we are very grateful that Network Rail will order a bespoke like-for-like replacement,” Mr Brammer added.

“We completely understand that accidents happen and we hope that nobody is reprimanded for the incident.

“As soon as you see the replacement one go up, you just get the feeling that it is going to be up forever.

“We are just happy that they are being replaced, and we are happy that no one was injured. Accidents happen.”

Middleton Towers was the first station on the old Lynn and Dereham railway, which closed to passengers in 1968.

The restoration group’s aim is to fully restore the station and repurpose it, to be used as a tea room and museum to pay tribute to the former rail line.



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