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Rail chiefs submit plans for new footbridge at deadly level crossing

Fisherman's level crossing in Formby

Councillor welcomes move by Railtrack to improve safety at Fishermans Path

A planning application to build a footbridge at a level crossing where a young woman was recently killed has been submitted to Sefton Council.

The Fishermans Path crossing between Freshfield and Ainsdale stations was highlighted as a danger by rail chiefs before 22-year-old Yasmin Jones was hit by a train in August while reportedly trying to rescue her dog.

Plans had been put in place to close the level crossing following concerns from local residents, Formby councillor Nina Killen and Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson.

Network Rail graded the level crossing as having a “high risk” in its most recent June 2013 inspection because of the 146 daily trains and the estimated 918 people who use the crossing daily.

Network Rail’s planning statement goes on to detail other instances of “near misses” at the crossing, including an incident in April this year, when two youths crossed the railway in front of a train, causing it to brake sharply.

The authority will now push for the building of a ramped footbridge, approximately 80-100m long and featuring cycle channels enabling cyclists to wheel their bike over the tracks.


Tributes to Yasmin Jones, 22, who was knocked down and killed on a level crossing

Cllr Killen said: “There have been a small but significant number of accidental deaths at this site over the years and Network Rail informed me recently that there have also been many near-misses. I was told the train drivers ‘hate’ that section of the track and I hate crossing the track there with my children.

“The footbridge is not a perfect solution. Bill Esterson and I pressed for it to be wheelchair and buggy friendly, but we were told that a fully ramped version was not possible due to the land it would have needed either side of the track.

“If it were kept open then inevitably there would be more deaths so I welcome the move by Network Rail to eliminate that possibility and on balance, this is the best and safest solution for the community.”

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