Plea to close railway crossing after woman's death

Rob McPherson at the crossing

Rob McPherson at the crossing

First published in News by

A WOMAN has been killed at a railway crossing, prompting calls for it to be closed.

The victim is believed to have deliberately walked into the path of an oncoming train.

It is understood she was a recent patient under the care of Rochford Hospital, which is a non-secure mental health unit in Union Lane.

The crossing is for pedestrians, and runs from Barbara Close, in Rochford, to a footpath and a nearby farm.

Rob McPherson, 42, of Middle Mead, Rochford, witnessed the aftermath of the incident.

He said: “It’s a dangerous crossing. It needs closing. It only goes from a residential area to a horse farm, so hardly anyone uses it.

“There is another way to get across the railway line safely by walking five minutes up the road to Ironwell Lane. It doesn’t make sense that this crossing is there.

“I worry that, with the school holidays coming up, children may end up on the line and be killed. With the vegetation and poor visibility, kids could run up the steps and not realise what they are walking on to. I’ve got four kids myself, and it doesn’t bear thinking about.”

The footpath leading to the crossing runs between two bungalows. A swing gate and a couple of steps are all that separate the public from trains travelling at around 50mph.

Police confirmed the woman who died was Deborah Dore, 48, from Rochford. Her family have been informed.

Christina Manicom British Transport Police spokesman said: “We can confirm that a 48-year-old woman from Rochford died after being struck by a train at a foot-crossing on Barbara Close.”

Essex Air Ambulance and a road ambulance were sent to the scene on the morning of Sunday, June 7, but nothing could be done for the woman.

Elliott Spiteri, spokesman for mental health body the South Essex Partnership Trust, which runs Rochford Hospital, said: “We are aware of the sad incident in the Rochford area “The trust fully extends its sympathy to the family. We have launched an internal investigation to establish the facts.”

Network Rail, which owns and manages the track and crossing, said it was not considering closure.

Spokesman Gary Gaskarth said: “Other than the tragic incident on June 7, which was declared as non-suspicious, there have been no reports of misuse, near misses or any other safety issues associated with the crossing.

“Level crossings are safe if used correctly, and we remind members of the public to follow the instructions, be careful and never take any risks.”

Comments (6)

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12:46pm Mon 15 Jun 09

JfrR says...

The crossing will not be removed because of the council not the current owner of the railway.

Residents who live near the footpath have been asking the council for years to put a locked gate across the footpath to stop public access to the crossing, obviously giving keys/access to the people who use the crossing for the stables.

However, because it's a public right of way the council will not do anything so any ramblers can use it if needed. This makes me laugh as the only place this footpath leads to is the stables as you can't get anywhere else as it's all fenced off.

So in the meantime every summer we have kids running up and down the line like maniacs. Also in the past they thought it would be funny to put stones and rocks on the line to see them shoot towards the houses.

At the time we had the helicopter flying over our houses and the 4 police cars turned up that this was a child rather than a suicide and sadly it didn't surprise me at all.

I'm all for protecting ramblers rights to footpaths, but when that footpath leads nowhere except to private stables, surely for safety it's time to restrict access to the footpath and crossing.
The crossing will not be removed because of the council not the current owner of the railway. Residents who live near the footpath have been asking the council for years to put a locked gate across the footpath to stop public access to the crossing, obviously giving keys/access to the people who use the crossing for the stables. However, because it's a public right of way the council will not do anything so any ramblers can use it if needed. This makes me laugh as the only place this footpath leads to is the stables as you can't get anywhere else as it's all fenced off. So in the meantime every summer we have kids running up and down the line like maniacs. Also in the past they thought it would be funny to put stones and rocks on the line to see them shoot towards the houses. At the time we had the helicopter flying over our houses and the 4 police cars turned up that this was a child rather than a suicide and sadly it didn't surprise me at all. I'm all for protecting ramblers rights to footpaths, but when that footpath leads nowhere except to private stables, surely for safety it's time to restrict access to the footpath and crossing. JfrR
  • Score: 0

1:06pm Mon 15 Jun 09

Winston Smith says...

Removing the crossing won't make any difference. If someone is determined to kill themselves they will find a way onto the tracks regardless.
Removing the crossing won't make any difference. If someone is determined to kill themselves they will find a way onto the tracks regardless. Winston Smith
  • Score: 0

5:41pm Mon 15 Jun 09

SARFENDMAN says...

This crossing has been there for decades but is open to abuse in the same way as a simple open railway platform by those of a extremely disturbed and determined nature.
This crossing has been there for decades but is open to abuse in the same way as a simple open railway platform by those of a extremely disturbed and determined nature. SARFENDMAN
  • Score: 0

7:51pm Mon 15 Jun 09

Hoolia says...

Shouldn't the real issue be why someone who was in the "care of Rochford Hospital" was able to do this?
Shouldn't the real issue be why someone who was in the "care of Rochford Hospital" was able to do this? Hoolia
  • Score: 0

12:03am Tue 16 Jun 09

Nebs says...

Leave the crossing open. Just stop runnning the trains.
Leave the crossing open. Just stop runnning the trains. Nebs
  • Score: 0

9:33am Tue 16 Jun 09

angelvsdevil says...

I live near this crossing and saw the aftermath of this accident. I worry about my children and their friends using this crossing and getting killed. They are taught the dangers but children will still be children. This needs to be closed quickly.
I live near this crossing and saw the aftermath of this accident. I worry about my children and their friends using this crossing and getting killed. They are taught the dangers but children will still be children. This needs to be closed quickly. angelvsdevil
  • Score: 0

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