Network Rail reveals plans to improve safety at Little Bowden crossing: Little Bowden level crossing, where Network Rail plans to build a new footbridge

Wednesday 23 Dec 2015

Network Rail reveals plans to improve safety at Little Bowden crossing

Region & Route:
| Eastern

A level crossing in Leicestershire which was closed earlier this year due to safety concerns is to be replaced by a new footbridge.

Little Bowden foot crossing was closed back in August after a risk assessment determined that the amount of time people were asked to stand at the red light varied too much for it to be safe. Train movements in the area meant that on some occasions the red light would be triggered by an approaching train which would then reverse into a nearby siding and therefore never arrive at the crossing itself.

Network Rail determined that the variation in warning time– although working entirely as it should – meant that those using the crossing may grow to distrust the warnings and decide to cross when it was unsafe to.

Now Network Rail is applying for planning permission to allow a bridge to be built at Little Bowden, which crosses the Midland Main Line and sees around 200 trains a day pass through it, with the crossing set to remain closed permanently.

Designs for the bridge are currently being discussed with Leicestershire County Council, with the new footbridge potentially in place within the next 12 months.

Gary Walsh, area director for Network Rail, said: “The track and signalling layout at Little Bowden is complex and with increased train movements in the area, the risk that someone would grow to distrust the crossing became too great."

“Safety is our priority and we will close level crossings wherever an opportunity such as the one at Little Bowden presents itself. The crossing will remain closed while we work through a fast-tracked proposal for a new bridge and I would like to thank the community in the area for their patience and understanding since it first closed in the summer.”

All work will be carried out subject to obtaining the relevant consent from Leicestershire County Council.

Notes to Editors

Since 2010, Network Rail has closed 987 level crossings. It has also carried out the following improvements at level crossings:

  • 1,100 crossings have improved sighting
  • 494 level crossings fitted with brighter LED lights
  • 113 level crossings fitted with spoken audible warnings to announce when “another train is coming” after one train has passed through
  • 66 crossings fitted with a time delay, preventing a signaller from mistakenly raising the barriers as a train approaches (to prevent further Moreton-on-Lugg-type accidents)
  • 20+ crossings fitted with Home Office approved red light safety cameras which act like speed cameras and capture motorists crossing after the warning sequence has begun.
  • 15 BTP-operated fleet of mobile safety vehicles with number plate recognition camera technology introduced
  • 81 level crossings are in the process of being fitted with power operated gates

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Toby Higgins
Head of Communications
Network Rail
0330 333 1800

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: