Fresh hopes rail crossing at Halesworth could stay following talks at station
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 April 2016
Campaigners are hoping to reach a "sensible and safe solution" to keep a foot crossing open at a north Suffolk rail station.
Network Rail is proposing to close the much-used barrow crossing at Halesworth station amid safety concerns, classing it as “high risk” and stating that improving safety at all crossings was of paramount importance following the deaths of two teenage girls at a crossing in Elsenham, Essex, in 2005.
A petition to keep the crossing has gained nearly 1,000 signatures. Its removal would mean a 400 metre journey to change platforms along a narrow, steep footpath for passengers.
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, who is pressing to keep the crossing, joined county councillor Tony Goldson and Halesworth town councillors to meet Network Rail director for East Anglia, Richard Schofield, to discuss its future.
Dr Coffey said: “It was important to show the crossing in person. There is a clear difference in our views on the level of risk.
“I am glad that we were able to have a constructive discussion about gates and signalling.”
Mr Goldson said: “We had an open and frank conversation regarding the future of the barrow crossing. Afterwards we agreed to work together in order to try and come up with a sensible and safe solution for the crossing to be used by the public.”
Dr Coffey has also met with Ian Prosser, HM Chief Inspector of Railways, who arranged for an inspector to visit Halesworth and assess the crossing’s usage for a whole day.
She said the crossing could not stay exactly as it is but changes would reduce the risk of accidents.
She added: “While it is for Network Rail to make the railway safe, we discussed options that could be undertaken to keep the crossing and make it safer for passengers.”