No plans for bridge over rail crossing
Network Rail rejects safe route calls despite deaths and near misses:
THERE are no plans to build a safety bridge at a railway crossing at which three people died in three years.
Network Rail decided to station a member of staff at Fisherman’s Path, near to Freshfield station on the Northern Line, after a 42-year-old man died in February 2017.
Five months later, a near-miss involving a cyclist led to the introduction of wardens wearing body cameras.
Student Yasmin Jones, 22 was killed on the crossing in 2014, when she was walking dogs in the nearby woods with two friends.
Phillip Andrew Barber, aged 54, died at the crossing in January 2016.
A number of safety measures have since been suggested, including potential plans to build a footbridge.
Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson has this week asked Network Rail chiefs when they will be applying again to build a bridge in order to make the crossing where trains pass at high speed – safe.
The MP said he wants the crossing closed off to the public with bridge access only.
The last application, submitted three years ago, was rejected by Sefton Council’s planning committee as it was not accessible for those with disabilities.
A recent death near to the crossing, Mr Esterson said, was a reminder that any crossing where there is open access onto the track is dangerous.
Safety improvements have recently been made to the crossing, which now consists of a series of gates that have to be passed in order to access the tracks.
But many local residents believe this isn’t enough.
A spokesperson for Network Rail explained: “Unfortunately there is no straightforward solution to either build a bridge at Fisherman’s Path level crossing or improve safety by installing additional features.
‘‘The lack of space for an accessible bridge and the decision by the local authority to not support plans for a footbridge means neither is currently viable.
“Even if a bridge was built, the vehicle crossing would remain which would not guarantee that people would use it.
“We will continue to consider all options put to us but can only carry out further work if it’s proven to increase safety at the crossing.’’
The spokesman added: “In the meantime, we encourage everyone to use the crossing correctly and never take a chance on the railway.”
Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson with the present layout of the Fisherman’s Path rail crossing
Killed: student Yasmin Jones