By Ewan foskett
Monday, February 20, 2012
A LEVEL crossing where campaigners say residents’ lives are continually put a risk is to be upgraded after nearly two years of pressure.
Foxton level crossing will be improved by Network Rail after a sustained effort spearheaded by county councillor Susan van de Ven.
The announcement came after Tina Hughes, the mother of Olivia Bazlinton, 14, - who was killed along with her friend Charlotte Thompson, 13, at an Essex level crossing in 2005 - inspected the site.
She was joined by two teenagers who were trapped in front of an oncoming train at Foxton earlier this month when the self locking gates malfunctioned.
The gates were improved last year but cllr van de Van told The Crow Network Rail did not upgrade the key component - which means they work on 50-year-old technology.
“They have finally picked it up and acknowledge there are serious problems and serious communication problems inside Network Rail,” she said.
“I think they realise we have just been lucky so far at Foxton.
“They have done nothing to improve safety at the crossing since we raised very serious concerns almost 18 months ago, concerns I have been repeating consistently during all that time.
“They have been told there have been near misses and they have only been forced into action by pressure from the media.”
Network Rail will also widen a footpath, but it will take eight weeks for both sets of gates to be upgraded.
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “Work is underway to improve Foxton level crossing and we will widen the footpath next to the road and upgrade the pedestrian gates.
“Safety is our number one priority and we have a nationwide programme to improve and close level crossings where possible. If anyone has any concerns about the operation of a level crossing, we would urge them to contact Network Rail directly.”