school bus route axed - walking route to Malbank through London Road level crossing in Nantwich

Rail chiefs have apologised to Nantwich residents for testing out a new, louder level crossing alarm in the middle of the night.

Families say they were woken by workmen installing and testing the alarm at the London Road crossing in Nantwich.

Some said the noise was like a “fire alarm” going off in their own homes.

Now Network Rail has said sorry for not warning people about the testing, and have vowed to turn down the volume once the new systems are switched on.

The work on the crossing comes after an elderly woman was hit by a train as she walked across in January this year.

Bernie Stafford, who lives nearby on Flowerscroft, said: “Whereas the old alarm made a discreet beeping noise, the new one is a two-tone which is significantly louder.

“Even with all of the (double glazed) windows shut, it still sounds like a fire alarm going off.

“And there are plenty of houses far closer to the crossing than I am – including the residents of Richmond Village.

“No warning was given of the change, nor were we advised the work would take place overnight to change it.

“Normally work on the crossing is undertaken overnight at weekends, however this was done last (Tuesday) night – causing a significant disturbance to those of us living within earshot.

“The alarm starts when the barriers go down and then continues until they go back up – which, if there is more than one train, can be a few minutes!”

A spokesman for Network Rail told Nantwichnews: “This crossing was recently upgraded and is due to be switched on in a few weeks.

“Last night (Sept 24-25) our engineers were on site testing the new equipment which includes new audible alarms.

“We would like to apologise for any disturbance and the lack of notification from last night’s testing.

“As part of that process, we will be turning down the volume of the alarms when the new crossing equipment is commissioned to minimise any disturbance to local residents.”

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