Network Rail and station operator Northern Rail will take steps to improve safety for both passengers and staff at Northwich station as plans to remove the pedestrian crossing on Saturday 1 September get the green light. Network Rail’s general manager Wayne Menzies explained: “The crossing currently has a locked gate and anyone wishing to use it has to ask a member of staff to escort them across. As this is only possible up until lunchtime, when the station is staffed, the current arrangement is not suitable for all passengers.
“In view of this, and the fact that the station is built on a curve which restricts the view of approaching trains, for the safety of staff and pedestrians we have decided to remove the crossing altogether.”
In the last three years Network Rail has closed 500 level crossings and has plans to close a further 250 by April 2014 to reduce the number of incidents and improve the safety of crossing users.
In many instances it is simply not possible to close a crossing because there is no other way of getting over the railway. However, at Northwich there is an alternative, with a footbridge linking both platforms. In such instances, Network Rail can safely close and remove the crossing.
Lee Wasnidge, area director for Northern Rail commented: “Safety is paramount on the railway and anything we can do along with our industry partners to ensure the well-being of our passengers as they use our network, is a priority.”
Passengers travelling from Northwich towards Chester who are unable to use the footbridge at Northwich are advised to use Greenbank station which is fully accessible, or alternatively contact Northern’s Passenger Assist service for further guidance or to arrange assistance.