Tuesday 6 Jun 2006

TRESPASS AND VANDALISM LEAD TO CROSSING CLOSURE

Region & Route:
| Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western
High levels of trespass and vandalism have lead Network Rail to take legal action and close Robinswood foot crossing on safety grounds, with the co-operation of Gloucestershire County Council. Since January 2005, there have been 35 reported incidents of trespass and vandalism at the crossing, of which two thirds have involved young people.  Incidents include: children playing ‘chicken’; leaving objects on the line for trains to hit; and throwing stones at trains. Roy Hamlin, Network Rail’s General Manager for the West Country, said: “We have done all we can to avoid having to close this crossing.  We have: made the crossing more user-friendly; visited local schools to talk to children about the dangers of playing on the railway; and worked with the local media to raise awareness.  But the crossing is still being mis-used – Robinswood is now the worst hotspot for railway trespass and vandalism in the West Country – and we have had no choice but to close it before there’s a serious accident.” From Sunday 11 June, pedestrians and cyclists will no longer be permitted to use the foot crossing.  Alternative access is available a short walk away via a footbridge - Network Rail is currently looking into upgrading this.  Cllr Stan Waddington, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "It is a great shame that Robinswood foot crossing needs to be closed due to the selfish actions of a small number of young people.  However, on the grounds of safety we have no other option but to support Network Rail in their action.  We are looking to provide an alternative route for pedestrians and cyclists in the near future."

Notes to editors

1. A temporary closure of Robinswood foot crossing will take effect from 11 June, enabling Network Rail to apply for a permanent order in due course. 2. Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) has been considered at the crossing, but this does not prevent people from trespassing and it cannot be guaranteed that a member of British Transport Police will arrive on the scene quickly enough to deal with the incident. 3. Network Rail has recently launched a major national £3 million campaign to highlight the danger of level crossing misuse, featuring extensive nationwide and local advertising, including spots on television and radio and more than one million households will be targeted to receive information leaflets. The message is simple – level crossings are safe if used correctly – but if you run the risk the cost can be fatal.

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