September 1 2014 Latest news:
By Matthew Gooding
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Changes are being made to a level crossing to try and stop pedestrians putting their lives at risk when crossing the tracks.
This week Network Rail plans to carry out work to close off a pedestrian gate at Shepreth level crossing, so that foot passengers have to take an alternate route to cross the tracks.
Campaigners hope that this change will stop people taking risks by ducking under the half-barriers which come down across the road when a train is approaching.
Melbourn ward county councillor Susan van de Ven, who chairs the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group, welcomed the changes.
She said: “Passengers will be redirected back out towards the car park and around the side of the station building to Station Road, and then to the footway leading to the level crossing.
“This will involve a few seconds of extra time for passengers and remove the easy opportunity for slipping through the barriers at the worst possible moment. This is the first phase of a project which should see the four steps down to the car park converted to a ramp, for which Network Rail says it is now seeking the necessary funding.”
The rail user group has been active in its campaigning for better safety measures to be put in place at both Shepreth and Foxton level crossings. As reported in the Crow, the Foxton crossing is set to be replaced by two bridges, for cars and cyclists/pedestrians, costing £12million.
Cllr Van de Ven said: “Over the past few years Network Rail has been extremely responsive to local concerns in our villages, and it is good to see what is often perceived as a remote organisation taking a close interest, especially on safety matters.
“A constant message to passengers catching a train is to get there in plenty of time. The barriers at Shepreth level crossing go down for a mere 20 seconds and do so because a train is approaching. Taking a chance within that 20-second window can’t possibly make sense.”