Published: 13:23, 15 April 2021
| Updated: 13:31, 15 April 2021
Network Rail says it will find a “safer convenient route” across a busy rail line for pedestrians and cyclists after a level crossing was closed due to safety concerns.
Simpsons Crossing at Bobbing, near Sittingbourne, which has been the scene of several near misses and deaths in recent years, was shut temporarily last month so that Network Rail could review options to reopen it safely or find another way across the line.
The closure came after numerous calls for action on the foot crossing, next to the A249 not far from the Bobbing Apple, following rail line deaths and near misses.
In 2017, Network Rail released alarming footage of youngsters lying on the train tracks and taking photographs.
There had also been talk of major changes being made, including the installation of a red and green warning light system to make it safer, or it being replaced with a footbridge.
However, Network Rail has now said it is looking for an alternative.
A spokesman said: “We will be meeting with Kent County Council officers later this month to find alternative routes for pedestrians affected by the temporary emergency closure of Simpsons Level Crossing at Bobbing, which has seen dozens of recent safety incidents many involving children and vulnerable users.
“The meeting is part of our effort to find a way to find a safer convenient route across the line for pedestrians and cyclists.”
He added: “Once other routes have been assessed, we will aim to present them and meet with stakeholders and the public to get their feedback.”
Kent County Councillor Mike Whiting, who serves Swale West, which includes Bobbing, welcomed the news.
He said: “I’m glad Network Rail is looking at it and I’m glad that they are taking it seriously, and that also they are looking to come up with alternative.
“Clearly there does need to be an alternative. I look forward to seeing what they come up with after their meeting with Kent County Council officers.”
In March, Network Rail said the temporary emergency closure of the level crossing followed “a high number of recorded incidents, 53 over the past three years, many involving children and vulnerable users, which, with nearly 200 trains travelling through per day at high speeds, poses a danger to life.”