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Crossing closed temporarily to allow safety inspections

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: December 27, 2012

A petition has been started to keep the Mexico footcrossing open.

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A LONG ROCK railway crossing on which a grandmother was killed when she was struck by a train last October was closed last Friday.

Cornwall Council will enforce an emergency closure request from Network Rail, which will keep the crossing closed until a decision is made on how to improve its safety or to close it indefinitely.

A petition was started in the village this week to keep the Mexico footcrossing open after Network Rail supported a coroner's recommendation to close it following an inquest into the death of Jeannette Nicholls.

The 73-year-old grandmother was killed when she was struck by a train heading to Penzance last year.

Hers was the second death on the crossing and followed five near-misses and two other incidents since 2007.

A Cornwall Council spokeswoman said a temporary diversion, which takes walkers 200m to a level crossing west of the footpath, has been put in place.

She said: "The closure will remain in effect pending an examination of all options to make the crossing safe, including the option of closure."

Network Rail has closed 600 rail crossings since 2009.

A spokesman said: "Following the coroner's recommendation for the Mexico footpath crossing to close, we requested an emergency closure and are pleased that this will be implemented.

"Network Rail is committed to improving safety at level crossings and closure is always our preferred option. We would like to make this closure permanent as soon as possible."

The petition is the second associated with the crossing after one was started last year by Mrs Nicholls' granddaughter Jodie Farmer to close it.

Her daughter, Vanessa Webster, said she and her family were pleased the crossing had been closed.

She said: "We are very encouraged that the crossing has been closed with immediate effect. This action is in line with coroner's recommendations. We firmly believe this is an important step in ensuring no one else is killed at the crossing."

Pip Penney, new owner of the Long Rock Shop, supports the petition to keep the crossing open and is collecting signatures in her shop.

She said: "We live in the village and we use the access to get to the beach. The shop has a new sign on the side and we get quite a number of customers from that way.

"It could really affect our business, especially in the summer when people come off the beach and buy a cup of coffee, sandwich or ice cream.

"They aren't going to do it if they have to walk along a busy main road. We are not going to have beach trade."

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  • josdave  |  December 31 2012, 11:32PM

    Dee got it right - stop look and listen and you won't go far wrong.

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  • modrep  |  December 29 2012, 8:16PM

    This crossing is important to Long Rock, and is the only safe route for pedestrians to get to the beach, the coast path,and to walk to Marazion - our only alternative is a dangerous (and inconvenient) level crossing, via a road with no pavement. My mother (in her 80s) now feels unable to go the beach and take the walks along the coast path that she so enjoyed. Closing our right of way was a wrong decision. I hope that good sense will prevail and that it will be re-opened as soon as possible.

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  • Tregenza  |  December 29 2012, 7:31PM

    It would be a great loss to Long Rock if this crossing were closed. To get to the best parts of the beach the alternative adds 5 minutes each way from where I live right next to the crossing - '200m to a level crossing ..' is the absolute minimum distance if you actually walk along the track itself and doesn't even get you to the rock armour below the car park! People who feel it is too difficult to cross here should not use this crossing, but I see many parents and children crossing very carefully and learning valuable discipline in dong so. Apparently the lady who died looked at the train and didn't move away. Sadly she was at risk anywhere, and is not a guide to the need to move a whole community further from the beach that is the best feature of our village. Meanwhile we still have a crossing of the dual carriagway which is far more difficult to use. Will CC ask for closure of that too? We are delighted the shop has been re-opened and closure must put that at risk. Closure is a bad idea for Long Rock and is the nanny state telling us all what we can and can't do for our own good.

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  • robzrob  |  December 29 2012, 6:47PM

    Hmm. Suddenly there's a 'safety issue'. So last month, last year, 10 years ago the crossing was safe then, was it? Bit slow, aren't they?

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  • beverly  |  December 29 2012, 4:35PM

    Too many decisions are made by petitions signed by people not involved in, using, or living by the affected area! I grew up in Long Rock and have been using the crossing all of my life. We simply check the gates were up at the level crossing and then crossed. I have taught my children the same. I happen to be there on the day that Mrs Nicholl's was killed. I was over by the level crossing waiting for the gates to go up, so I know it was an awful accident as the gates were still down. It is tragic that someone has been killed, but closing the crossing is a knee-jerk reaction, and a wrong one. I know that there has not been a death there in at least 50 years, the newspaper is intimating that there has been a death and near misses since 2009 - this is incorrect information. The village will be hugely affected, both residents and businesses, and this is unnecessary. Also the village shop has only just re-opened and needs all the support it can get in these difficult times. Over 400 residents have signed a petition to keep it open. They are the people that need to be listened to surely?

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  • dee_2  |  December 27 2012, 7:15PM

    I used the crossing for many years with three small children. We stopped, looked and listened, and never had any problems.

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  • The Rhythm Balladeer  |  December 27 2012, 4:25PM

    In the interests of publics safety any Long Rock resident who wants to walk to Marazion will have to A) head towards Penzance and endure the level crossing or B) walk along an extremely pedestrian challenging road fraught with danger in the form of no footpath beyond Shiver Me Timbers and culminating in a death defying road junction by the railway bridge near The Station House pub. I'm sure the deceased grandmother will be turning in her grave in the knowledge that her death on the crossing she regularly enjoyed the benefits of has now initiated a kneejerk reaction resulting in a more dangerous walk from Long Rock to Marazion not to mention the disruption of routine crossings enjoyed by local dog owners and cyclists alike. The Long Rock village store has only just reopened only to be met with what must be a hammerblow to forthcoming summertime passing trade and beach enthusiasts who will quite likely make alternative arrangements for liquid and chilled refreshment on the beach. How many roads do we drive down that have been the scene of an unfortunate accident involving a senior citizen yet haven't been closed down to traffic as a result? There are two sensible options that spring to mind. 1) in this age of amazing technology we could have an automated locking device on the gates with traffic lighting warning that triggers at almost the same time as the nearby level crossing or 2} a footbridge similar to the one that serves Eastern Green residents adjacent to their controlled pedestrian crossing. please let's have that beach access sorted out asap

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  • Penzance11  |  December 27 2012, 12:53PM

    Its dangerous to cross at the level crossing, walking in the narrow road with two way traffic, and having the risk of being hit by a car, as there is no footpath!

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