PARENTS of a 12-year-old boy who narrowly avoided being hit by a train in a level crossing ‘near miss’ say he could have killed.

Delsa Lennox-Gordon has hit out at Network Rail and Dorset County Council after her son, Cameron, and his friend were almost involved in a potentially fatal collision on the railway line at Wareham.

Following a number of near misses at the level crossing, DCC say an attendant has been suspended and STM Group, the company contracted to supply crossing attendants, has been unable to cover all his shifts – resulting in the crossing closing at short notice.

This has now been exacerbated by the sickness of another attendant, with the crossing having had to close due to staff shortages on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Cameron and his friend pair had approached the level crossing gates, which were then opened for them by the on-duty train guard.

As they approached the railway line the member of staff suddenly shouted stop at them and moments later they watched the train whistle by them at close range.

Cameron returned home safely after the train had cleared the crossing and told his parents about what had happened.

Ms Lennox-Gordon said her son is now "living on a second life".

"It does not bear thinking about just how bad it could have been," Mrs Lennox-Gordon said.

"I was totally shocked when he came home and told me what had happened. You just keep asking yourself, what if? They could have been killed.

"The guard said the light for the gate which tells him if a train is coming was not working and said it not to worry because it had been sorted and no one was hurt. That just is not good enough.

"He might now have been sacked but my son might have been killed.

"The boys approached the gate opened to let them through.

"They walked through round the barriers where the cycle dismount sign is. As they went to cross the railway the gate operator shouted stop, so they stopped and within seconds a train went by really fast.

"At the same time there was a woman come through the gate from the other side.

"We asked for the CCTV but apparently it has not been working for a while."

Councillor Daryl Turner, Cabinet Member for the Natural and Built Environment said: “Last week we instructed STM to reduce the operation of the crossing to 8am to 6pm when there is only one attendant available to ensure that the crossing was open for the majority of users until full staffing of the crossing is back in place, but this attendant is now unwell and we are speaking with all concerned to try and agree a resolution.

“We appreciate that this puts anyone needing step-free access in an impossible situation, which is the position we have been trying to avoid for many years.”

The current level crossing by Wareham Railway Station has a long history and, following safety improvement requirements in 2009, has had a safety attendant monitoring the crossing and operating pedestrian gates between 6am and 1am (the following morning) when trains are scheduled to pass.

Mid Dorset and North Poole MP Michael Tomlinson, who has been contacted about the incident, said: "The safety of Wareham residents has to be a priority. That is the key reason to have an employee on duty at the level crossing.

"I have raised this serious and specific incident with both Network Rail and Dorset County Council and it is being investigated."