Network Rail will scrap plans to close a foot crossing over the Angerstein branch line in Charlton after a strong local campaign.
The foot crossing provides a link for residents – including hundreds of new homes – to Westcombe Park station. Network Rail’s plans would have meant a detour via the busy Woolwich Road.
Claims that the crossing was extremely dangerous fell apart under scrutiny. They had claimed “many incidents where drivers of trains had to apply their emergency brakes to avoid people on the track” yet a Freedom of Information request showed one incident of that happening over the past three years.
A claim it was one of the most dangerous also included people taking photos.
There are already extensive safety precautions in place. Trains pass by at 5 mph with staff on scene to monitor pedestrians.
Network Rail also claimed: “Our level crossings team have also advised that in 2019 we increased the safety measures at the crossing by fitting wicket gates, as it was previously an ‘open’ crossing. However, these gates are subject to daily abuse – they are often wedged open by members of public and as such the closing mechanism needs to be regularly fixed.”
Some users however claim the gates are not maintained by Network Rail, with one emailing this site to claim they have to push the gates back into place with some force due to poor design – something which others may not be able to manage.
Network Rail also claimed it was the most dangerous crossing in their Kent division. Again untrue.
Why Network Rail claimed a number of falsehoods to push for a closure remains bizarre. The strength of feeling surely meant those claims would be looked into and found to be untrue via requests for information.