‘Abuse it and you’ll lose it’ warning on crossing at station
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Suffolk Coastal MP, Dr Therese Coffey, has warned people in Halesworth that they could still see the crossing at the town's railway station shut if it is not used properly.
Network Rail's planned closure of the barrow crossing at Halesworth was put on hold last year thanks to the vigorous campaign by local residents.
Instead of closing the crossing, Network Rail installed gates with additional safety warnings.
However, people continue to misuse the crossing with recent figures showing that the crossing was misused on 278 occasions during a week in June – with most breaches due to people walking behind or in front of stationery trains.
Marking Rail Safety Week with a message to users of Halesworth crossing that everyone needs to use the crossing safely or it will be closed, Dr Coffey said: 'Bringing the Chief Rail Inspector to Halesworth to see for himself was key to keeping the crossing open, but it was on the basis that people used it properly and to stop crossing when trains were present.
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'My message this Rail Safety Week is to please use the crossing properly or else we will lose it entirely.'
Gates and fencing were installed at the pedestrian crossing at the end of the station platforms in April.
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As part of the changes, textured flooring was fitted so that people with impaired vision can understand where the edge of the platform is and new signs and painted lines show where the decision to cross can be made safely.
Anti-trespass guards were also installed at the side of the crossing pathway, to stop people from accessing the tracks.
A sign is now attached to the gate providing advice on how to use the crossing safely.
It advises pedestrians that you should only use the crossing if you are a station user as it is not a public right of way, cross only if there are no trains on either platform, get off your bike before crossing, and not to stop on the crossing mid-way.
The improvements were part of National Rail's 'Railway Upgrade Plan' to improve safety at level crossings across the country.