Anger over plans to close South Lakeland railway crossing

PLANS to close a South Lakeland level crossing have been met with anger by residents.

Network Rail has this week applied to Cumbria County Council for permission to shut down the Bayley Lane crossing at Grange-over-Sands, despite ‘overwhelming’ opposition from the town council and local people.

“This is a well-used and important historic public footpath and there is widespread support throughout the town to keep it open,” said town council leader, Coun Tom Harvey.

“Grange Town Council have been in discussions with Network Rail for several months to try to ascertain what the real safety concerns are and only last month, after a site visit, we agreed with them that they would initially look at ways to make the crossing safer instead.”

He said they had discussed the possibilities of better signage and improved visibility through the removal of overgrown trees and shrubs.

“It’s something of a shock that they have decided to bypass the local community and apply for closure,” he added.

However, the rail company has branded the crossing ‘risky’, saying a child was killed crossing the tracks 25 years ago.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “It’s a long-standing issue.

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“A little child was killed there in 1988 and it’s a risky crossing just because of the number of people that use it.

“We don’t want to wait for another tragedy to occur before we take action.”

He said a ‘near-miss’ also occurred in September.

A survey in August found 4,000 people used it over a nine-day period, including children, elderly people and people on mobility scooters.

“It’s a route from the town centre to the promenade but we found it was even more heavily used than we thought,” continued the spokesman.

“Where you have that number of people using it the risk is obviously higher.”

A £1.3million subway under the line was built as an alternative to the level crossing in 2006.

Their plans have the support of South Lakes MP Tim Farron, who said: “This crossing is one of the most dangerous in the region and the sooner we can make it safer, the better.”

Comments (7)

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11:12pm Wed 18 Dec 13

Rainyjoe says...

I attended a public meeting in Grange called by Network Rail. At that meeting the vast majority of local residents stated that they felt this crossing was safe and wanted it kept open. At that meeting the Network Rail representative stated that if he could he would close every crossing in the country. This crossing is not dangerous. One death in 25 yrs, however regretable, is hardly excessive. It is part of our heritage and part of what makes Grange special.

Did our MP contact Grange Council to see why they wish to keep the crossing open or is he just repeating Network Rail's opinion.
I attended a public meeting in Grange called by Network Rail. At that meeting the vast majority of local residents stated that they felt this crossing was safe and wanted it kept open. At that meeting the Network Rail representative stated that if he could he would close every crossing in the country. This crossing is not dangerous. One death in 25 yrs, however regretable, is hardly excessive. It is part of our heritage and part of what makes Grange special. Did our MP contact Grange Council to see why they wish to keep the crossing open or is he just repeating Network Rail's opinion. Rainyjoe

12:48am Thu 19 Dec 13

Pete W. says...

The Bayley Lane crossing should have been closed the day that the underpass opened in 2006.
What's the point having a public footpath across a railway line when there's a safer alternative nearby.
The Bayley Lane crossing should have been closed the day that the underpass opened in 2006. What's the point having a public footpath across a railway line when there's a safer alternative nearby. Pete W.

8:56am Thu 19 Dec 13

Rainyjoe says...

The underpass is not a public right of way. Network Rail could close it tomorrow if the wanted to.
The underpass is not a public right of way. Network Rail could close it tomorrow if the wanted to. Rainyjoe

5:43pm Fri 20 Dec 13

lakesailor says...

The Network Rail spokesman is obviously not very good at statistics. Or he think everyone is stupid.

" A survey in August found 4,000 people used it over a nine-day period, including children, elderly people and people on mobility scooters.

“It’s a route from the town centre to the promenade but we found it was even more heavily used than we thought,” continued the spokesman.

“Where you have that number of people using it the risk is obviously higher.” "

If there are more using it than they had thought the risk is in fact lower than they imagined, as there has still only been one death in 25 years.
The Network Rail spokesman is obviously not very good at statistics. Or he think everyone is stupid. " A survey in August found 4,000 people used it over a nine-day period, including children, elderly people and people on mobility scooters. “It’s a route from the town centre to the promenade but we found it was even more heavily used than we thought,” continued the spokesman. “Where you have that number of people using it the risk is obviously higher.” " If there are more using it than they had thought the risk is in fact lower than they imagined, as there has still only been one death in 25 years. lakesailor

8:02pm Fri 20 Dec 13

jazzactivist says...

I would think that every railway crossing in the country has had one death on it over 25 years! Although there is the underpass near to the Bayley Lane crossing, the underpass isn't an absolute right of way and could also be closed by Network Rail. The Bayley Lane crossing is an historic part of Grange and is an interesting way to walk between the town and Promenade. I wonder if this plan to close smaller crossings is in preparation for increasing the speed of trains and/or trains not stopping at all stations?
I would think that every railway crossing in the country has had one death on it over 25 years! Although there is the underpass near to the Bayley Lane crossing, the underpass isn't an absolute right of way and could also be closed by Network Rail. The Bayley Lane crossing is an historic part of Grange and is an interesting way to walk between the town and Promenade. I wonder if this plan to close smaller crossings is in preparation for increasing the speed of trains and/or trains not stopping at all stations? jazzactivist

3:33pm Mon 23 Dec 13

Spotty Fish says...

I'm not at all familiar with this crossing, but it strikes me that having a footpath across a railway is like putting a pedestrian crossing on the M6. Why risk one death if there is an alternative? The fact that it is a historic part of Grange or part of the heritage of Grange is a very poor excuse for keeping it open.
I'm not at all familiar with this crossing, but it strikes me that having a footpath across a railway is like putting a pedestrian crossing on the M6. Why risk one death if there is an alternative? The fact that it is a historic part of Grange or part of the heritage of Grange is a very poor excuse for keeping it open. Spotty Fish

11:48am Tue 24 Dec 13

Stargazeratdawn says...

I live close to this crossing in fact, right behind it, and, with the underpass so close, I just can't see the logic for keeping the crossing open. If it avoids one accident, then this has to be the right decision.
I live close to this crossing in fact, right behind it, and, with the underpass so close, I just can't see the logic for keeping the crossing open. If it avoids one accident, then this has to be the right decision. Stargazeratdawn

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