Fishermans Path Level Crossing is now open with Network Rail staff stationed on site until further n
We can now confirm that as of this afternoon, Wednesday 9th August, Fishermans Path Level Crossing is officially open. There are Network Rail staff stationed at the site whilst the trains are in service until further notice.
A spokesperson from Network Rail said: "Fishermans Path level Crossing will be re-opened today. Once the crossing is open Network Rail personnel will be stationed at the crossing until further notice."
"As you are aware, the site, both in terms of numbers of users and conservation issues, means that any works at the crossing require careful planning. Network Rail is committed to completing the previously planned works and we will inform you of any timescales as and when we have more details."
Police at Fishermans Path on Sunday 6th August
On Sunday 6th August, Merseyside Police and Network Rail officers were called to an incident of people trying to cross the crossing. There were teenagers on bikes who threw the bikes over the fence and then scrambled over the fence themselves to get across.
A local resident said: "We have witnessed people with pushchairs and young children passing the children over the fence to get across. The crossing became more dangerous when fenced off than when open."
Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson also got involved. He urged Network Rail to re-open the Fisherman’s Path railway crossing or build a bridge to restore access “as soon as possible”.
The crossing in Formby, which is normally used by around 1,000 people per day, has been closed since July 14 after a ‘near-miss’ between a train and a cyclist. Network Rail initially said the crossing would be closed for three weeks but last week announced that it would remain closed for another three weeks, up until at least August 25.
Mr Esterson said this important right of way should be reopened. In a letter to Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne, he wrote: “This is causing significant difficulties for my constituents and others from across the North West.
He added in the letter: “I urge you to install a bridge or reopen the crossing as soon as possible.”
Network Rail had recently placed a member of staff at the crossing to advise cyclists and pedestrians how to cross safely but when even this did not stop the cyclist almost being hit by an oncoming train, a decision was made by Network Rail to close the crossing.
As it is a right of way, Network Rail had to apply for permission from Sefton Council to close it.
Mr Esterson continued in his letter: “Your decision to place a member of staff at the crossing to advise people how to safely cross is laudable and should be sufficient to maintain the safety of users in the short term until a bridge can be built.
“This crossing is used by around 1,000 people per day and the risks associated with such a busy crossing have been known for some time. Network Rail has failed to put in place a long-term solution that maintains access.
“This is the busiest time of the year, the school holidays, and this closure is affecting people's enjoyment of the area and has closed off an important cycle route from Southport to Liverpool. It has also affected local businesses who have seen a drop in passing trade.
“I support the eventual closure of this dangerous crossing in favour of a bridge but being forced into this situation of closing the crossing before a bridge could be built could and should have been avoided.”
Mr Esterson said he would like to see an accessible bridge built “without delay”, writing: “Until a long-term solution can be found I urge you to reopen the crossing with the safeguard of a staff member in place to assist people to cross safely. A bridge should be built without delay and should be accessible for cyclists, people with prams and those with accessibility issues.”
Local Conservative Councillors also got involved. Jerry McConkey Service Manager – Transportation & Highway Infrastructure said: "You have failed to demonstrate that continuing the closure order is the only way the crossing can be made safe for use by members of the public. I can confirm that the closure order will not be extended and trust you will now take steps to open up access to the crossing and take whatever steps you consider appropriate to comply with your statutory duty to keep the crossing safe. No doubt you will seek appropriate permissions in due course to undertake works on the public highway and I can assure you that such applications will be treated urgently."
Story on 13th July:
Due to a serious incident of accidental human error at Fishermans Path Level Crossing on Thursday 13th July, Network Rail closed and fenced off the Level Crossing for four weeks.
At approximately 9am on Thursday 13th July, a cyclist using the crossing and wearing headphones tried to cross the track. The guard on duty was shouting at him to stop because there was a train coming but, due to the headphones, the man did not hear him shouting and was almost hit by the train. The train had to do an emergency stop which caused delays for an hour and a half. The man took his headphones off and said: "That was close!" He then left the scene.
Network Rail closed the path at the time of the incident between the railway boundary fences. It was supposed to remain closed until further notice but they decided to re-open it at 7:15pm to allow people that were trapped on the wrong side to get out.
As of the next morning they closed it completely. The crossing was completely fenced off on both sides to prevent anyone from passing through and/or trying to climb over.
Sefton Council put a notice up saying:
Temporary Emergency Road Closure on Fisherman's Path, Formby.
Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, Section 14, as amended by the Road Traffic Temporary Restrictions Act 1991.
Head of Locality Services commissioned is empowered to authorisation a temporary Emergency Road Closure Order for any period of up to 21 days duration.
In order to carry out a critical incident investigation and to maintain safety for operatives and road users, it will be necessary to close Fishermans Path, Formby.
The diversion route for all pedestrians will be via Victoria Road or Coastal Road to access Formby beach.
Railway staff have been stationed at a level crossing where three people have been killed in an attempt to prevent further tragedies. Staff from Network Rail are monitoring the notorious Fisherman’s Crossing in Formby close to Freshfield Station.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Network Rail is currently running a safety campaign at Fisherman’s crossing. Staff are on site to deter misuse and to remind people how to use the crossing safely."
“This is being backed up by safety awareness days at the crossing in conjunction with Merseyrail and the British Transport Police.”
Since 2014 the crossing has claimed the lives of three people, the most recent in February of this year. The Fisherman’s Crossing has previously been graded as ‘high risk’ by Network Rail which applied to build a footbridge close to the level crossing which was later withdrawn.
The decision for a bridge was because the bend in the track just before the Fisherman's Path crossing meant that people crossing only had eight seconds to react to a train travelling at 60mph.
Student Yasmin Jones, 22 was killed on the crossing in 2014, when she was walking her dogs in the nearby woods with two friends and one of the dogs got loose and went onto the track. The former John Moores drama graduate ran onto the train track to save the dog from being hit by a train and was tragically killed.
MP Bill Esterson backed the plans by Network Rail for a bridge, which were put forward last year, but the application was withdrawn, after planning bosses at Sefton Council said the footbridge would be difficult to use for cyclists and would not be suitable for people with “mobility issues”.
Since that decision, there have been two deaths on the crossing, a 42-year-old man in February this year and Phillip Andrew Barber, aged 54, who died at the crossing in January 2016.
Man stationed at Fishermans Path Crossing from when the trains start early morning until they finish at Midnight.
New signs were put up after the death of Yasmin Jones who died in 2014.
An emergency telephone is at the crossing which you can also use to find out when the next train is due