Network Rail takes emergency action to close foot crossing on railway near Hildenborough, Kent: Fouchams level crossing, Kent. Picture: Network Rail Air Ops

Thursday 1 Apr 2021

Network Rail takes emergency action to close foot crossing on railway near Hildenborough, Kent

Region & Route:
Southern: Kent
| Southern

A footpath crossing of the main London-Tonbridge railway in countryside near Hildenborough is being closed by Network Rail today (Thursday) as an emergency, after a survey of the crossing revealed much higher usage than expected.

Foucham’s crossing carries a footpath from Philpots Lane to Nizels Lane in the countryside near Hildenborough station. Another footpath slightly further down the line links the same roads via a bridge, without the need to cross the railway.

Over 260 trains pass the crossing every day at speeds of up to 100mph, some within 20 seconds of each other, and a recent survey found an unexpected increase in users.

Network Rail Kent’s Head of Route Quality Health Safety & Environment, Vincent van der Hoeven, said: “Footpath crossings like Foucham’s are a legacy of the past and we keep a constant check on how many people are using them so we know what safety features to put in place or whether they should even be open at all.

“In this instance the speed of the trains, the frequency of the trains and the rise in people using the crossing – from one or two a week to almost 10 a day, meant we were left with little choice but to ask for permission to close it under emergency measures.

“We’re now examining what we can do with this crossing in future – it is still a public right of way and we mustn’t lose sight of that. In the meantime, there is a safe route over the railway just down the road.”

While the crossing is closed, the whistle boards that instruct train drivers to use their horns will be removed.

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 - Chris Denham
Media relations manager (Kent)
020 3357 7969
07515 626530

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: