LETTER: How to reduce crossing delays

I was interested to read your recent article about the £3.4bn that British Rail wish to spend on improving the rail links in the South East and in particular the £55million to create a Chichester to Bognor chord.

Having missed the consultation last year by the Chichester District Council, concerning this Chichester to Bognor chord proposal, I would like to make an suggestion regarding the railway gates at Chichester and how this could be improved using some of this money.

I would like to put forward an observation about why these gates are closed for so long.

I have managed to observe that the gates at Chichester are triggered by trains leaving Barnham soon after they leave the station about six miles away. This is why the gates are closed for so long with trains coming from that direction.

There may be a reason for this and it goes back to the times I was at the Lancastrian Boys school nearby.

The gates at Basin Road crossing were opened and closed manually and could take anywhere up to three minutes to close and possibly contributing to the long delay from trains coming from Barnham.

Also trains coming from Portsmouth activate the gates some way before they reach Chichester station which also adds further delay.

When you consider a station like Fishbourne Halt, trains that stop there arrive with the gate closed and not opened until required.

If they do this for Fishbourne Halt, why not for Chichester.

This means that there is a least a six mile area over which trains can trigger the gates at Chichester.

If you compare it with the automatic gates i.e Clay Lane crossing this overlap is about two miles.

By reducing this delay from Barnham and not opening the gate until trains leave Chichester station this could vastly reduce the time that the gates would be closed and reduce congestion in these areas.

This could possibly be cheaper than a £10million road bridge in Basin Road, that has been suggested.