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Meeting called over the future of railway crossing

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: January 10, 2013

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RESIDENTS in Long Rock are holding a public meeting to challenge the emergency closure of a rail crossing which some feel is placing a stranglehold on village life.

The villagers are opposed to the closure of the Mexico footcrossing in the village, which was shut last month following an inquest in to the death of Jeanette Nicholls.

The 73-year-old grandmother, who was a resident in the village and regular user of the crossing, was struck by a train on it and killed in October 2011.

Following the inquest last month, in which the coroner recommended the crossing should be closed, Cornwall Council enforced an emergency closure request from Network Rail.

The decision means the crossing, which is situated 200m from a level crossing, will remain closed until another one is made on how to improve its safety or to close it.

Closure of the crossing, which was also recommended by the coroner at the inquest, has been long sought after by Mrs Nicholls' family.

However, it has been met with fierce opposition by locals, who have collected more than 400 signatures on a petition to keep it open and are holding a public meeting on Thursday.

Robert Nance, resident and committee member of newly formed group Friends of Long Rock Mexico Crossing (FOLRMC), said the meeting had been called due to the overwhelming opposition among residents.

He said: "Convenience is a reason cited by a lot of people who have signed the petition.

"They don't consider it to be dangerous.

"Parents who walk children to Marazion School in the summer say they would have to go back to the level crossing or walk by road.

"The shop has only just opened again; they rely heavily on trade coming through that crossing and the pub gets business from people staying there so they can be close to the beach.

"Every person apart from half a dozen or so went to sign it immediately."

Mrs Nicholls' death followed five near-misses, and two other incidents have occurred on the crossing since 2007.

A detailed investigation in to its safety was carried out by the Rail Accident Investigation Board following the accident.

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

A statement from Mrs Nicholls' family said: "We understand the petitioners may wish to keep the footpath crossing open for reasons of convenience but perhaps they are not fully aware of the dangers this footpath crossing presents.

"The crossing has been the subject of a detailed and independent investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Board and its findings are very clear.

"The coroner conducted a full and detailed inquest into Mrs Nicholls' death and stated that the crossing is dangerous, that it could lead to other fatalities and that it should be closed.

"The family has suffered a huge loss as a result of the untimely death of Mrs Nicholls and would not wish the same fate to befall another family on the very same crossing where there are known safety issues."

The meeting is due to take place at the Long Rock Memorial Institute at 7pm tonight.

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  • beverly  |  January 10 2013, 9:48PM

    The crossing is safe, Mrs Nicholl's death was awful and her family are understandably grieving, but her death has not made the crossing unsafe. Anyone who thinks the crossing is unsafe need not use it - make a choice! If I thought it was unsafe I would not let my children use it, and my mother would not have let me use it as a child, if she thought it unsafe. I also used it as a teenager, we used to go on the beach in the evenings and crossed in the dark. Its a single track of about 3 or 4 feet. The gates at the level crossing can be seen from there. PLEASE CAN IT JUST BE OPENED AGAIN, AND LET US ALL GET BACK TO OUR LIVES!

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  • josefkay  |  January 10 2013, 8:29PM

    The statement from Mrs Nicholls' family states: 'The crossing has been the subject of a detailed and independent investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Board and its findings are very clear. "The coroner conducted a full and detailed inquest into Mrs Nicholls' death and stated that the crossing is dangerous, that it could lead to other fatalities and that it should be closed.' This is misleading as it seems to imply that the RAIB report recommended that the crossing should be closed. IT DID NOT. Instead, it made a series of recommendations about how the crossing (and level crossings in general) could be made safer. Those campaigning to keep the crossing open would be pleased to see Network Rail follow those recommendations. A lot has been made in the Cornishman's reporting of the incident of the 'five near-misses on the crossing since 2007'. To put this into context, according to Network Rail's own figures (http://tinyurl.com/a395o6q) there were 1179 near misses involving pedestrians on level crossings since 2007. Should all all these crossings be closed down? The RAIB report into the Long Rock fatality also reveals that 'between 1 January 2002 and 10 May 2007 there were no reported incidents at the crossing', which rather undermines the claim that the crossing is inherently unsafe. The report also states that 'the RAIB has reviewed accidents and near-misses involving pedestrians on level crossings nationally between 2001 and 2011 ... there has been no discernible trend in fatal accidents to pedestrians at footpath and user-worked crossings in this period'. (p.31)

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  • The Rhythm Balladeer  |  January 10 2013, 4:30PM

    The walk towards Marazion is now far more dangerous than ever with no footpath. I'd also like to add that given the option, I'd prefer to walk in front of a train than get put into an old people's so called "care" home.

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  • robzrob  |  January 10 2013, 1:29PM

    For more comments, see facebook page of friendsoflongrockmexicocrossing

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  • robzrob  |  January 10 2013, 1:28PM

    For more comments, see facebook page of friendsoflongrockmexicocrossing

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  • robzrob  |  January 10 2013, 1:25PM

    For more comments, see here: null

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  • nick113  |  January 10 2013, 11:05AM

    The report states that Mrs Nicholls' family has "long campaigned" to have the crossing closed. I don't believe that they campaigned for this before her unfortunate death just over a year ago, indeed Mrs Nicholls was reportedly a regular user of the crossing. While sympathising with their loss, I think that their views are driven by emotion rather than a rational analysis if the risks and views of most residents and users of the crossing.

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  • josdave  |  January 10 2013, 8:44AM

    Whatever happened to stop look and listen? Don't people use common sense any more?

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