09:59 Thursday 13 February 2014

Level crossing not to close say rail chiefs

Written byROB SMYTH

IT has been revealed that a level crossing where a man was left seriously injured following an incident involving a safety barrier would NOT be closed.

Rumours have been circulating that the Egginton level crossing, in Egginton Road, near Hilton, was set to close as part of a nationwide closure scheme being operated by Network Rail.

Calls for its closure intensified last year after a 49-year-old crossing keeper was left in a ‘serious condition’ after being injured by a crossing barrier following an accident involving a car.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We can confirm that, contrary to popular rumour, there is no and never has been a plan to close the level crossing in Hilton as part of our closure works programme.”

Network Rail is currently in the process of replacing pedestrian crossings with footbridges and installing safety measures at vehicle crossings.

The company has now reached its target of closing 10 per cent of Britain’s crossings.

The target was set in 2010 and has resulted in the closure of 750 crossing.

There are currently no closure plans for sites in Burton or South Derbyshire.

Network Rail managing director of network operations Robin Gisby said: “There is much more we can do to make the level crossings that remain safer and we will continue to introduce new technology, upgrade crossings to include lights or barriers where appropriate and work with schools, communities and other organisations to spread awareness of our safety message.”

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) Burton branch chairman Paul Walker, has been appealing for changes to level crossings.

He said: “They were fine in the 19th century when road traffic was a lot slower and trains did not travel at the speed they do.

“Now though level crossings are dangerous and out of date.’

“The crossing where the last incident took place is located on an A road where traffic travels at high speed.

“Too many people have lost their lives or faced serious injury because of accidents on our level crossings.”

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