'Notorious' crossing upgrade plan

Work is starting to upgrade a railway level crossing in Cambridgeshire described as “notorious” by passengers.

Network Rail said the crossing at Foxton would be improved after a rail user group complained that children had found themselves “trapped”.

Hattie MacFadzean, 16, told the BBC last week she was trapped after one pedestrian gate at the Foxton crossing opened but the other failed.

Hattie had to use the traffic barrier to escape but was unhurt.

‘Missing components’

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Work is under way to improve Foxton level crossing and we will widen the footpath next to the road and upgrade the pedestrian gates.

“Safety is our number one priority and we have a nationwide programme to improve and close level crossings where possible.”

Susan van de Ven, who heads the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group and is a Liberal Democrat member of Cambridgeshire County Council, raised concerns in a letter to local newspapers.

“Foxton Level Crossing is one of the most notorious outside of London, and breakdowns of its self-locking pedestrian gates have occurred on a regular basis over the past 18 months,” she said.

“This is a level crossing heavily used by schoolchildren. When the gates have failed, children have found themselves trapped inside the level crossing while the Cambridge-London train hurtles past.

“New self-locking gates were installed by Network Rail last summer, but the essential magnetic locking components were missing due to their high cost, £50,000.

“The ‘new’ pedestrian gates therefore operate on a 50-year-old system and breakdowns continue at an alarming rate.”

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