Robert Hampton

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20th April 2009

Frinton and on and on and on…
Posted by at 8.29pm | Trains | No responses

Oh no! Network Rail have carried out an atrocious act of… perfectly reasonable upgrading and renewal of signalling equipment.

A manually-operated wooden railway crossing which marked the gateway to the genteel Essex seaside resort of Frinton-on-Sea has been ripped out under cover of darkness by railway authorities.

In a move branded “cowardly” by campaigners who wanted to keep them, the 19th-century railway gates were demolished at about 2am on Saturday following a three-year battle with residents keen to preserve their town’s spirit of independence and history.

I watched the BBC documentary about Frinton last year (bits remain on YouTube if you’re interested), which portrayed the elderly residents of Frinton, and the gate campaigners in particular, as a bunch of confused old people who are befuddled by the modern world. I’m sure that is a completely unfair portrayal. It was funny, though.

Honestly I can’t understand what the fuss is about. Despite what the protesters claim, there is no safety issue with remotely-monitored level crossings (there are hundreds of them working safely all over the country) and the signalling equipment on the line was in need of upgrading (the line through Frinton was, until this week, the only electrified railway line in Britain still controlled by semaphore signals, trivia fans).

It’s all worth it, though, for this wonderfully over-the-top Telegraph editorial. I can imagine retired Colonels up and down the country choking on their toast and marmalade as they read it.