Row over sudden crossing closure

The crossing near Glebe Road in Little Bowden. (Picture by Andrew Carpenter)
The crossing near Glebe Road in Little Bowden. (Picture by Andrew Carpenter)

A well-used footpath that crosses the railway line in Little Bowden has been abruptly closed without proper permission by Network Rail.

A spokesman for the rail company told the Mail this week tha the foot crossing at the end of Glebe Road had been closed indefinitely because “safety is our absolute priority”.

The spokesperson said: “The crossing at Little Bowden has been closed with immediate effect following our latest risk assessment which showed an unacceptably high level of risk to the public.”

In closing the crossing, Network Rail has ignored the views of Leicestershire County Council.

The council recently refused Network Rail’s request for an emergency closure, saying there was no evidence of an increase in danger at the crossing.

Local county councillor Dr Sarah Hill called the closure “unacceptable” and said Network Rail must build a bridge at the site before they closed the crossing.

And regular crossing user Bill Corrie accused Network Rail of “very high handed behaviour”.

The crossing has been regularly used for many years by local people. It is controlled by red and green lights and an audio warning.

But Network Rail said people could disregard warning lights, and pointed out that almost 200 trains pass the crossing every day.

“In the longer term, we aim to build a footbridge, but to keep people safe, we have closed the crossing until that time” the spokesman added.

A Leicestershire County Council spokeswoman said: “Network Rail applied for an emergency closure of the crossing at the beginning of July but this was refused as there is no evidence to suggest there has been an increase in danger at the crossing.”

The spokesman said the council would seek to ensure the crossing “is restored to use as soon as possible”.