Fears for pedestrian safety at proposed new Downham Market railway crossing

Fears were raised last night that a plan to move a pedestrian railway crossing could compromise people's safety and leave them 'sitting ducks'.

Network Rail wants to scrap the current crossing at Downham Market train station and instead divert people to the nearby road crossing.

But South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss and the Fen Line Users Association have both condemned the proposed move and branded it 'unacceptable'.

Ms Truss said: 'It wasn't so long ago that Network Rail wanted to put a bridge at the station for people to cross and had put aside �1.4m to do this.

'The local people here didn't want it and were asking the question if the current crossing is not broken why fix it?

'Network Rail pressed on with the bridge idea for some time but have now come back said they want to have a pedestrian crossing next to the road crossing.

'There was a meeting recently with the town council, myself and others and we said we didn't want it by the road because of the risk of people being hit by traffic.'

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Ms Truss said she would like to see a barrier crossing on the station with a gate on both platforms.

'I think this would be a good solution and I think it would be a safer, cheaper option,' she continued.

'I am not convinced by this road crossing idea at all. I think people would be sitting ducks and it wouldn't be long before the first of many accidents happened there.'

Colin Sampson, chair of the Fen Line Users Association, said the group is meeting with Network Rail next month (January).

He said: 'We would be against having a pedestrian crossing next to the road crossing as things stand because it's moving the risk from the railway to the road.

'We see it as totally unacceptable and we think the simple solution would be to have a gate at the end of both platforms.'

A Network Rail spokesman said: 'The existing crossing offers little protection to pedestrians so that is why we are moving to close that crossing and make people use the barrier controlled crossing nearby.'