Harborough MP backs plans for footbridge for dangerous rail crossing

The crossing at Little Bowden
The crossing at Little Bowden

Harborough MP Sir Edward Garnier has welcomed plans for a new footbridge over the busy Midland main line railway near Market Harborough.

Network Rail is applying for planning permission to build the new bridge at Glebe Road, Little Bowden.

The site’s original pedestrian crossing, controlled by lights, was abruptly shut in August, after a Network Rail risk assessment ruled it was too dangerous.

Sir Edward said this week: “This is a seriously dangerous foot crossing on a very busy stretch of the Leicester to St Pancras main line used by not just adults but young children as well.

“Anything that can be done to improve the safety of the thousands of pedestrians who cross the line there every year can only be a good thing.”

Local county councillor Dr Sarah Hill was an outspoken critic of the crossing closure in August.

She said: “As long as Network Rail do this work within the 12 months they’re proposing, I’ll be happy. I’ll be keeping an eye on this to make sure they get their act together.”

Designs for the bridge are currently being discussed with Leicestershire County Council. The new footbridge could potentially be in place within the next 12 months.

Gary Walsh, area director for Network Rail, said: “The track and signalling layout at Little Bowden is complex, and the risk that someone would grow to distrust the crossing became too great.

“Safety is our priority and the Little Bowden crossing will remain closed while we work through a fast-tracked proposal for a new bridge.”

A county council spokesperson told the Mail: “Little Bowden level crossing is an important link for the local community that we would like to see kept open for residents.”

The main line at Little Bowden can see up to 200 trains a day pass through.

The crossing, is one of hundreds that have been re-evaluated by Network Rail in the last few years.

Since 2010, Network Rail has closed 987 crossings all over the UK.