A PROBLEM with Southgate level crossing this afternoon caused a huge headache for pedestrians and motorists.

Network Rail confirmed that a fault occurred with the tracking circuit at around 3.55pm, which allows controllers to track where trains are at any time, and the gates were put in the down position for safety reasons.

The barriers were down for around 30 minutes which caused long traffic tailbacks down Grantham Road and Mareham Lane, and pedestrians trying to cross were stranded on either side of the gates.

The gates were raised again at around 4.30pm, and Sleaford’s Policing Team attended the scene to direct the traffic to ease congestion as the lights were still on red.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “The rails were down for safety reasons to make sure no one came into contact with any trains, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused and we understand how frustrating it must be.

“We alerted the Lincolnshire Police as soon as the fault came through and they were on hand to direct traffic.”