IRATE residents and drivers in Stanford-le-Hope say barriers at the train station are being left down for half-an-hour at a time, causing “bedlam” in the mornings.

The Echo has been contacted by several people about delays at the level crossing, in London Road, which they say have been occurring since before Christmas.

Stanford-le-Hope resident Elaine Hobson missed her train last Thursday because the barrier was down from 8.01am to 8.30am, they were down for a similar period the day before too.

She said: “This has been happening on and off for about three months.

“Apparently the problem is caused when a train terminates at the station.

“The barriers used to go back up straight away so traffic could go through, but whoever is controlling them now just leaves them down until the train is gone.

“People are missing two or three trains a day, parents are complaining as they are late taking their children to school, taxi firms are also really annoyed.

“The security guards in the train station are getting threatened every week by irate drivers, its absolute bedlam.”

A coach driver, who did not want to be named, said he had been caught at the gates several times and it had made the children he was taking to school late.

He said: “Everyone is really annoyed about this, it’s causing such long queues in the morning.

“I was told Network Rail had a meeting about this with staff before Christmas, and things did improve, but obviously there was less traffic over Christmas, but now it’s gone back to the way it was before.

”The other day I queued for about half-an-hour then the barriers came up, let some of the traffic through, and they were back down again for another train before I could get there.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said it would look into residents’ complaints.

She said: “We are aware of the need to keep traffic flowing as much as possible and every level crossing is operated to balance this with running a safe and efficient railway.

"We leave barriers down for the minimum amount of time to achieve this and avoid unnecessary delays to motorists and pedestrians, but will look into the issues raised by residents.”