Waverley barriers left wide open for repairs

The security barriers are currently not in use at Waverley. Picture: Greg Macvean
The security barriers are currently not in use at Waverley. Picture: Greg Macvean
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RAIL bosses have been forced to remove one of the stop gates at the £1 million Waverley security barrier to have repairs carried out, just six weeks after it was installed.

Engineers removed the first of the two security barriers from the south ramp on Thursday due to a continuing fault.

The second barrier remains – but the system has been left “temporarily out of use” until Network Rail replaces the faulty gate.

Taxi drivers paying £1800 a year for a permit have labelled the situation an “utter joke” as at present there is nothing to stop drivers from entering the station unchecked.

Meanwhile, city transport leader Lesley Hinds has dismissed the ongoing litany of problems as “ridiculous”.

Several cab drivers have had their vehicles damaged as they pass through the anti-terror system – with one cab being left with its rear wheels spinning in the air after a low-level barrier engaged.

It is understood a passenger was travelling in the taxi, which suffered considerable damage and had to be taken away on the back of a lorry.

Tony Kenmuir, of Central Taxis, said: “The whole system just never seems to be operating especially at peak times. You have a situation now where anyone can drive in and out this weekend. I’m also far from convinced they’ve had any form of increased security since they installed them.

“It’s supposed to be a major transport hub, but it’s become an embarrassment.”

The problems had led to suggestions rail bosses had grown fed up with the system’s repeated failings and that the barriers would be opened until October allowing the city council time to install additional taxi ranks and a zebra crossing on Waverley Bridge. However this has been dismissed.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The system is currently not operational as we are awaiting a part for one of the barriers. We expect the barriers to be back in operation next week.

“We have no plans to remove them as a system needs to be put in place to manage the potential risk vehicles could pose to the station and its users.”

The long-running spat between rail chiefs and the city council has centred on Waverley bosses installing the automatic barriers without adequate warning.

Cllr Hinds said: “This is getting a bit ridiculous now. It doesn’t seem very secure if so many vehicles are being allowed to enter Waverley Station unchecked. We urge Network Rail to work with us on a swift resolution to this issue; at the moment, it’s clearly not working.”

Council workmen will begin installing a zebra crossing at nearby Market Street in the coming weeks with additional taxi ranks also opened at Waverley Bridge, Calton Road and Market Street.

Chaotic start

AUTOMATIC barriers were introduced at the station in January with only a week’s notice offered to the council.

Taxis were forced to queue all the way up Waverley Bridge as the new barriers created delays for them getting into the station and subsequent traffic disruption.

In February, station bosses were handed an ultimatum by city council chiefs to “sort out” their controversial £1 million anti-terror barriers or face having them scrapped altogether after crashes and delays.