Suffolk insists festival is safe after taking down picture of hikers on track

Walkers enjoy hundreds of miles of paths criss-crossing Suffolk's countryside Picture: ARCHANT

Walkers enjoy hundreds of miles of paths criss-crossing Suffolk's countryside Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Walks arranged as part of a Suffolk festival are safe despite a photo showing participants on a railway track, organisers have said.

The Suffolk Walking Festival continues until June 2.

The Suffolk Walking Festival continues until June 2. - Credit: Archant

The picture was put up on Twitter on Thursday evening showing people crossing the track between Home Covert and Bobbett's Wood near Yoxford. They were spread out along the rails at a point where it is a double-track section of the East Suffolk Line from Ipswich to Lowestoft. Two trains an hour use the track.

When this image, posted by the county council's @DiscoverSuffolk Twitter feed, was challenged the reply insisted that the people taking part in the walk were on the crossing. The crossing is not clearly marked by ususal wooden slats, but there were officials in high-vis jackets to ensure walkers crossed safely.

The picture was quickly removed from the Twitter feed at 10.30pm and replaced with a new image - and a spokesman for the county council said the person who ran the feed had now gone on holiday and no-one else had any access to the picture.

Network Rail, which is responsible for the track, also responded to the Tweet showing the people on the track. Their tweet said: "We encourage people to be safe around the track and only cross at the designated crossings, as crossing on the track is dangerous and a criminal offence."

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: "There is a registered right of way across the railway line at Yoxford and on Wednesday afternoon we used it as part of our fantastic walking festival."

The county added that officials were aware of the crossings and took clear steps to ensure they were used safely on official walks.

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Network Rail is seeking to close a number of pedestrian crossings in the county to make lines safer and also to allow trains to safely travel faster over them,

The East Suffolk Line was built as a main line in the 1850s - but the fastest train today takes 86 minutes to cover the 48 miles from Ipswich to Lowestoft.

Closing pedestrian crossing would enable trains to travel faster and improve the links between the two largest towns in Suffolk - and the Yoxford crossing used on this walk is only a short distance from Middleton crossing on the B1122.

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