Councillor’s concern over rail crossings

A COUNCILLOR has expressed her concern at the “extreme danger” users of a railway station face everyday due to problems with its pedestrian crossing.

The crossing at Foxton Railway Station is currently out of use on one side of the road, meaning those using trains have to cross via the vehicle level crossing, to the concern of county councillor for Foxton Susan van de Ven.

Cllr van de Ven also revealed how one parent told her he saw his own son and several other children run across the track while the warning lights were flashing, due to the crossing being out of use.

“The gates on the Barrington Road side have been locked since the end of August, and we were told they would re-open after 12 weeks,” said Cllr van de Ven.

“On the Station side, the gates developed the same problem a day or so after Christmas, so every one walking to and from the station or changing platform had to use the vehicle level crossing on the A10, which has no footpath.

“The gates on the Station side have re-opened this week, but it is still extremely dangerous. Children have gone back to school and it is dark by the time most of them return.”

The pedestrian crossing has spring loaded gates which lock automatically every time a train is approaching.

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They had deteriorated on the Barrington Road side, which meant they could not be automatically locked.

Cllr van de Ven contacted Network Rail several times since the problem was first reported by a local resident but didn’t receive a response.

She also contacted the emergency number, but as no accident had taken place, the situation was considered ‘non-emergency.’

Network Rail said that the gates on the Station side had been repaired but the Barrington side were still out of use, and that they will both be replaced by new gates soon.

A spokesperson said: “The Barrington Road level crossing has spring-loaded gates which lock closed electronically to prevent people crossing when a train is in the vicinity.

“Unfortunately the gates have deteriorated so that they no long self close, and thus do not automatically lock. As a result, and in the interest of public safety, they have been taken out of use until they can be replaced.

“The gates on the Station side have also recently been closed due to a similar problem with the locking mechanism, although they have now been re-opened following repairs this week.

“We apologise for the difficult situation pedestrians currently face at Foxton crossing. Both sets of gates will be replaced in the coming months.

“We’re looking to carry out a targeted safety awareness campaign focusing on motorists at the crossing in the coming months.”

Last year, British Transport Police counted more than 50 incidents of misuse of the vehicle level-crossing, including when a truck smashed through the barriers and became trapped on the track in April.