Shepreth level crossing branded dangerous by campaigners set for upgrade

Shepreth Railway Crossing

Shepreth Railway Crossing - Credit: Archant

A level crossing at Shepreth branded as dangerous by campaigners is set to be upgraded to stop pedestrians risking their lives.

Two sets of full barriers are to be introduced at the crossing by 2018, replacing the two barriers on each side which only covered half of Station Road and Barrington Road.

The decision was made last week at a meeting between the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group and representatives from Network Rail, as part of a plan for resignalling work in Cambridgeshire, scheduled for 2017/18.

Melbourn ward county councillor Susan van de Ven, who chairs the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group, has welcomed the changes.

She said: “The news was not expected to come so soon. The rail user group have been lobbying Network Rail for many years to improve pedestrian safety at the level crossing, as people are frequently taking risks by crossing when the barriers are down. At the moment, the half barriers at Shepreth are fundamentally dangerous as they leave the crossing in a vulnerable position with just half the road covered.

“The crossing is particularly vulnerable because it is adjacent to the station. You often get passengers rushing to get to the other side in the morning. There is also the problem that there is a blind bend in the track in both directions.

“I see lots of children who are taking risks with the crossing. I want to stress however, that this behaviour is not restricted to young people. I have seen professional people taking risks and even a man with a young child on his shoulders doing the same.

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“I also think Network Rail have done as much as they can to tackle this problem. There will be a longer waiting time for drivers waiting to go over the crossing, and an increased frustration there, but it is vital that these full barriers are put into place.”

The news comes amid a crackdown by the British Transport Police, who will be providing extra police patrols across the country to tackle the problem.

Between April 1, 2013, and March 31 of this year, 732 motorists were charged for misusing level crossings, with a further 740 issued with fixed penalty notices, and 102 cautioned for traffic offences.