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.”