Gates to be installed to make a Suffolk level crossing safer: Halesworth level crossing misuse1

Wednesday 18 Jan 2017

Gates to be installed to make a Suffolk level crossing safer


Gates will be installed at a pedestrian level crossing at Halesworth station, Suffolk to make the crossing safer as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.

Work will start on 23 January to install gates at the end of the platform which will act as a barrier between pedestrians and the railway, and provide a timely reminder to people to stop, look and listen for trains before they cross.

A sign will be attached to the gates with advice about how to use the crossing safely:

  • Only use the crossing if you are a station user. It is not a public right of way.
  • Cross only if there are no trains in either platform and check no trains are approaching.
  • Get off your bike before crossing and stick to the crossing and off the track.
  • Always keep moving. Don’t stop on the crossing.

Early last year, Network Rail presented proposals at a public meeting to close the crossing completely, owing to significant safety concerns. There have been instances of people walking off the platform onto the tracks and crossing when trains are in the station, which can block people’s view of the adjacent track, and even people attempting to cross when trains are approaching the crossing.

Following feedback from regular users, it was decided that putting a gate in place would improve safety at the crossing without having to close it. Network Rail will continue to monitor the crossing to check that it is being used safely and review the situation later in the year.

Richard Schofield, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “I have significant concerns about safety at this crossing, and urge those who use it to make sure that they do so safely by not crossing when trains are in the station and checking that no trains are approaching before they cross.

“We listened to people who use this crossing regularly and agreed that putting a physical barrier in place should increase safety, but we will continue to monitor the situation. We are committed to improving safety at level crossings as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.”

Suffolk Coastal MP, Dr Thérèse Coffey, said: “I was delighted that Network Rail decided to install gates instead of close the barrow crossing following the successful campaign last summer and it is good news they will be installed shortly.  Network Rail is clear that if people continue to cross unsafely, then there is a risk that the crossing will have to close in the future.  I hope the installation of these gates will help change behaviour so passengers will still be able to enjoy a safe and convenient passage to the other side of the station.”

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About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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