Friday 3 Feb 2017
New Maidstone railway footbridge to improve safety and accessibility
- South East
A new accessible footbridge opening later this month over the railway in Tovil, Maidstone will make crossing the tracks safer and easier for local people and means an outdated footpath level crossing can be closed for good.
The crossing, between Maidstone West and East Farleigh, is used by around 350 pedestrians and cyclists each day and is close to the footbridge over the River Medway between Bower Lane and the Boatyard. Crossing the railway currently involves either an inaccessible steel framed footbridge over the tracks or a footpath level crossing for those unable to use the stairs.
The new ramped footbridge will remove the risks associated with the footpath level crossing and provide a modern, safe and fully accessible route across the tracks. When the new footbridge is complete the footpath level crossing – which has been earmarked for closure for safety reasons – will permanently close.
Work on the new footbridge will take place over a single weekend, from the evening of Friday, 24 February until the morning of Monday 27 February when it will open for the public to use.
Mike Smith, route enhancement manger, Network Rail, said: “Our Railway Upgrade Plan is all about providing a safer and more reliable railway fit for the 21st century. Footpath level crossings like the one at Tovil are a relic of the past and no longer fit for a busy, modern rail network. The new ramped footbridge will make crossing the railway safer and easier for everyone, including those with mobility issues. I would like to thank local residents for their patience and understanding while we carry out this important upgrade.”
While work is taking place the crossing will close to ensure the safety of workers and the public. Pedestrians will need to cross the railway using an alternative route.
The bridge was made by Ashford based footbridge fabricator Nusteel Structures. All the steel used in construction has been sourced within the UK.
- There are more than 6,000 level crossings on the rail network in Britain. Although, it is one of the safest rail networks in Europe, accidents and near misses with trains still occur.
- Network Rail has closed more than 1,000 level crossings as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a safer railway. Many of these have been replaced with bridges and others diverted onto different routes.
- Network Rail is investing more than £100m as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan to improve level crossing safety across the nation. Network Rail is also investing in a wide-ranging safety awareness programme, working with national and local organisations, to make using level crossings safer and to help people understand how to use them correctly.
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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.