SAFETY worries at a Cambridgeshire level crossing could soon be alleviated as Network Rail plans to close an easy route for pedestrians to venture into the path of an oncoming train.
Work is to be carried out at Shepreth Railway Station to prevent vulnerable and risk-taking passengers from passing under the crossing barriers at a critical moment.
Following logging of individuals passing through the barriers by various parties, Network Railnow intends to closed off a gate which allowed easy access to the crossing.
The news was welcomed by Susan van de Ven, county councillor for Shepreth and a long-time campaigner for safety improvements to the rail service at Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton stations.
She said: “Over the past few years Network Rail has been extremely responsive to very local concerns in our villages, and it is good to see what is often perceived as a remote organisation taking a close interest, especially on safety matters.”
Network Rail and British Transport Police have liaised with the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group on incidents of risk-taking involving people of all ages, which were reported by witnesses.
It was agreed that the unlocked gate at the bottom of the ramp down from the ticket machine was a particular vulnerability.
But, this week, Network Rail began work to close off the gate and redirect passengers back around the side of the station building to Station Road, and then to the footway leading to the level crossing.
Cllr van de Ven said: “This will involve a few seconds of extra time for passengers and remove the easy opportunity for slipping through the barriers at the worst possible moment.
“Buying a ticket in a hurry and then needing to get over to the other platform to catch a train involves dashing down that ramp and then, if the barriers are down, an open gap to slip through for anyone who is not thinking straight – or small children who wouldn’t know any better.”