No plans for bridge over rail cross­ing

Net­work Rail re­jects safe route calls de­spite deaths and near misses:

Midweek Visiter - - Front Page -

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

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