Needham Market: Proposals to improve safety at Gypsy Lane rail crossing put forward

Network Rail has put forward proposals to create a footbridge at the Gypsy Lane crossing in Needham

Network Rail has put forward proposals to create a footbridge at the Gypsy Lane crossing in Needham Market - Credit: Archant

A footbridge is set to be built over a busy railway line following an investigation into a fatal accident at the crossing.

Network Rail has presented proposals for the Gipsy Lane pedestrian crossing in Needham Market.

At a meeting on Wednesday night, residents and town councillors had the chance to examine the plans which could see the bridge built in a matter of months.

An 82-year-old woman died when she was walking across the tracks at the crossing in August 2011. Town mayor Kay Oakes called the meeting “very positive”.

She said: “I came away from the meeting quite happy. Network Rail outlined the options following its assessments and feasibility study.

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“They stated categorically that closure of Gipsy Lane is not an option because it’s a public right of way. It’s been identified as a high-risk crossing. The trains have been slowed down to 50mph since the tragedy. If the bridge is put over the line the trains would go back up to 100mph.”

Richard Schofield, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “We held a very positive meeting with the residents of Needham Market where our proposal to close a high-risk level crossing and replace it with a footbridge was well received.

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“Once planning permission has been granted we expect to have the new bridge in place and the crossing closed within six months.”

Network Rail will now be discussing the plans with Suffolk County Council, which is responsible for rights of way.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch recommended the crossing for closure in July 2012.

Earlier in the year proposals to create an underpass at the closed Willow Walk in the town crossing were put forward.

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