Call for Network Rail to start work on Downham Market railway crossing

Network Rail hopes a �100,000 revamp of a pedestrian railway crossing in West Norfolk will be finished by the summer.

The organisation wants to improve the crossing, on Station Road, in Downham Market, by moving the barriers further apart and making the footpath and road wider.

The improvement plans were announced shortly after closing the barrow crossing at the town's train station last May after concerns were raised about the number of people who ignored the red lights and put their lives at risk.

A Network Rail spokesman said: 'We don't have a completed schedule for this scheme yet as we are in the process of appointing a contractor.

'The aim is to complete the work by the summer but at this stage I don't have any more specific details.'

Last night, South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said she was not happy with the length of time it was taking Network Rail to carry out the work.

The Conservative MP, along with town, borough and county councillors, met Network Rail representatives last June to discuss the issue.

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She said: 'I am meeting with Network Rail again next week and I will raise this unacceptable situation with them then. It's been a long time since that meeting last June and I am surprised Network Rail is not further down the line with this. I've also not seen any plans about what Network Rail want to do to the level crossing. They need to engage with the local community more but, more importantly, they need to get on with the work.'

She has previously said there have been a 'catalogue of failures' by Network Rail over the years on this issue and accused the organisation of not listening to what Downham Market residents want.

West Norfolk mayor Colin Sampson, who is also chairman of the Fen Line Users Association, said: 'When the closure of the barrow crossing first came up, we backed it because of the sequence of events which eventually led to its closure.

'We were, however, under the impression the work at the [road] crossing was going to be high priority and we had hoped it would have been done before this winter started.

'But we are very pleased Network Rail has got round to dealing with it and look forward to seeing the work start and finish.'

In 2009, Network Rail had submitted plans for a footbridge between the platforms but that application was later withdrawn after consultation with English Heritage and the Railway Heritage Trust. A revised plan was rejected by West Norfolk council last April.

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