by Susan van de Ven on 4 July, 2015
I’ve sent this letter to Mr Richard Schofield, Anglia Route Managing Director for Network Rail. Anyone concerned please come along to the crossing on Monday 6 July 5PM.
Dear Mr Schofield,
I represent Foxton on Cambridgeshire County Council and chair the Meldreth Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group and Community Rail Partnership.
As such I have been dealing with the years-long problem of faulty pedestrian gates, safety issues and associated problems at Foxton Level Crossing. Through your predecessor Dave Ward’s initiative, serious progress toward level crossing closure was underway, with a local Partnership Board in place and a public consultation on preferred options planned. Level crossing closure would have addressed in a comprehensive fashion the multiple problems of the current crossing environment. However we learned through the grapevine that this has now been shelved for at least 5-10 years.
We now have an appalling situation in which the station-side pedestrian gates have been out of order for the past four months, and the Barrington-side gates out of order for nearly two months. As I’m sure you know, the crossing intersects the busy A10 and is heavily used by children not just from Foxton but other villages. Our Rail User Group log of pedestrian experience with faulty gates contains cases of pedestrians caught inside the level crossing when a train has actually passed through. I believe that Mr Ward understood the fundamental safety deficit of the level crossing and therefore Network Rail’s liability.
We understand that we are to expect a wait of at least ten weeks before a new set of pedestrian gates arrive. The current gates were ones that we campaigned for several years ago but the pattern of faults and closure has never abated. People are rightly cynical about a promise of new gates when the last new set didn’t work; when level crossing closure project has been abandoned; and with what is perceived locally as a casual attitude by Network Rail toward the current situation.
I am now inundated with calls and emails from understandably angry people who cannot move about the crossing in safety on foot. As a minimum, I would request that there should be a human escort for pedestrian traffic over the level crossing until the new gates arrive. Beyond that, I would welcome your thoughts on what longer terms measures, such as a pedestrian bridge, could be implemented, if the crossing is indeed to remain open.
Please note that the Rail User Group agreed at its meeting earlier this week that it should coordinate a publicity photo at the crossing on Monday 6 July, 5PM.
All the best,