Foxton county councillor urges motorists not to take risks at level crossings as part of national campaign

Campaigners Susan van de Ven and Tina Hughes at Foxton Level Crossing.

Campaigners Susan van de Ven and Tina Hughes at Foxton Level Crossing. - Credit: Archant

A county councillor is urging motorists and pedestrians not to take risks with level crossings as part of a nationwide rail awareness campaign.

Between April 1 last year and January 1, 400 motorists up and down the country were charged or summonsed for crossing misuse. Another 357 received fixed penalty notices, 16 were cautioned and 568 were sent on driver awareness courses.

British Transport Police officers are increasing their presence at level crossings, including those at Foxton and Shepreth, in order to make more people aware of the dangers of taking risks.

Cambridgeshire county councillor Susan van de Ven, who founded the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group, said: “Risk taking is astonishing and I’ve been shocked to witness it on numerous occasions. One person taking a risk helps to foster a culture that says it’s OK to do so – it’s not.

“The pedestrian gate system at Foxton Level Crossing seems to have improved in terms of the reliability of gates locking when they are supposed to.

“However, the proximity of the pedestrian crossings on either side of the busy A10 is far from ideal, particularly given the high level of vehicle abuse of the level crossing barrier system.

“Network Rail has told the rail user group that it will upgrade the Shepreth station level crossing to a full barrier system.

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“Currently we have a half-barrier which sadly seems to facilitate the temptation of some pedestrians to take risks.”

Darren Furness, head of level crossings for Network Rail, said: “Level crossings create a risk for people that we want to remove. Where possible we close them, and we have already closed more than 900 in the past five years.

“We know waiting at crossings can sometimes be frustrating but it is really important that people do not get complacent or ignore warnings lights as this can put lives at risk.”