Gates look set to close on much-used Newmarket rail crossing

Wetherby crossing, Newmarket ANL-161123-104254001
Wetherby crossing, Newmarket ANL-161123-104254001
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A campaign to keep a much used Newmarket railway foot crossing open looks to have failed.

Network Rail has recently completed a consultation with residents over its proposal to close the long-used Weatherby crossing, which is close to the club’s Ridgeon’s Stadium in Cricket Field Road and provides an important town link for pedestrians.

But despite numerous calls to keep it open from regular users, Newmarket Town Football Club and the town council, it appears rail bosses want to press ahead with closure.

In a letter to town MP Matthew Hancock, Richard Scofield, Anglia’s route managing director for Network Rail, said: “We firm;y believe that closing this crossing and removing the point at which people come into contact with the railway is the safest option.”

He said the company had considered other safety improvements at the crossing including locking gates but that would mean the crossing would have to be monitored in a signal box and have signals to stop approaching trains.

“Network Rail does not own sufficient land at the level crossing to provide a bridge, either ramped or with steps only,” he added.

“We appreciate that some level crossings are important for connecting communities and as such we will always look to find an appropriate alternative crossing point and diversionary route.”

In recent times there have been three deaths at the crossing, all of which were non accidental and, according to Network rail, eight recorded near-misses. Residents are concerned that the alternative route for pedestrians along New Cheveley Road is too long.