A major upgrade to Yapton level crossing has been ‘brought forward’ to start this month amid ongoing safety concerns.
Network Rail hopes the upgrade to a full barrier crossing controlled by CCTV will reduce risks posed by dangerous driving and allow trains to travel full speed through the junction.
The crossing will be closed and trains cancelled on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18, followed by ten days of road closures in January.
John Halsall, Network Rail’s managing director in the South East, said: “Yapton is one of the most misused crossings in the south east, with drivers either ignoring or trying to beat the red lights, queuing over the crossing or swerving around the barriers as trains approach.
“This behaviour meant we had to impose a speed restriction in 2012 to reduce the risk of a collision between a train and a vehicle.
“This work will significantly reduce the risks posed by dangerous drivers, so we can lift the speed restriction and allow trains to run at full speed again, improving punctuality and reducing delays.”
Yapton level crossing, which currently has an automatic half-barrier system, is used by 8,000 vehicles and 300 trains every weekday.
Red light enforcement cameras were installed in 2017 and although hundreds of motorists have been prosecuted for dangerous driving, Network Rail said the crossing still has an average of 3.7 incidents a day.
The crossing upgrade will mean the average length of each closure sequence will increase from 59 seconds to two minutes and 48 seconds, or up to six to seven minutes at peak times when multiple trains cross at once.
Mr Hansall added: “A full barrier crossing means that the barriers will be down for longer because of the way the technology works.
“I know this won’t be popular with some people but it will help keep rail passengers, pedestrians and motorists safe.”
From 00:40am on Saturday, November 17, to 4am on Monday, November 19, no trains will run between Arundel/Angmering in the east and Barnham in the west.
Eastbound trains will terminate at Barnham, westbound services will terminate at Arundel/Angmering.
Rail replacement bus services will operate as follows:
Two per hour between Angmering and Barnham calling Arundel, Littlehampton and Barnham
Two per hour from Arundel calling at Barnham only
Two per hour between Angmering and Barnham calling Littlehampton, Ford and Barnham
A full road closure is also planned from January 4 to January 14. No trains will run from Saturday, January 12, to Monday, January 14.
Diversionary routes will be in place, with further details available closer to the time.