Fears over level crossing gate safety

PEDESTRIAN gates at a problematic level crossing have been chained shut, causing school children to cross the tracks next to speeding traffic.

The Foxton level crossing, where the A10 crosses the railway line between Cambridge and Royston, is used by commuters and children who travel to and from Foxton Station.

The Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group says it has they have had reports from passengers that the gates of the pedestrian crossing have been locked on a “frequent basis” in recent weeks due to ongoing electronic problems.

Ward county councillor Susan van de Ven, chairman of the rail user group, said: “We are very concerned, particularly about children who use Foxton Station to commute to school.

“Due to the lack of any drop off points, people bringing their children to Foxton from other villages by car have no choice but to let them navigate their own way to the station platform, not knowing necessarily that the pedestrian gates may be out of order and that crossing very close to moving traffic on the A10 is therefore necessary.”

Cllr van de Ven said the group has been in constant contact with Network Rail, which is responsible for the upkeep of the crossing.

She said: “The current situation shows that even the highest standard of engineering can be problematic and from the point of view of people who must use the level crossing every day, problems are ongoing and the close proximity of vehicles and pedestrians is very dangerous.

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“It has been incredibly helpful to have the input of local residents and level crossing users who help to keep us informed, sometimes on an hourly basis. We appreciate that Network Rail are working hard to resolve the problem.”

The footpath and pedestrian gate were improved last year after a sustained campaign from residents to improve safety in the area.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The gates were out of order on Friday, February 1, because of an earth fault which required the locks to be changed.

“By Sunday, February 3, we had fixed the problem. Our engineers are looking at what can be done to avoid the fault from reoccurring.”