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MP to hold top-level talks over future of rail crossing


Friday 14th September 2012 (Andrew Griffiths)

BURTON’S MP will have a face-to-face meeting with rail bosses to discuss residents’ complaints over a contentious temporary footbridge in Branston.

Andrew Griffiths revealed that after weeks of waiting he had finally received a written reply from Network Rail chief executive David Higgins discussing concerns about the structure over the Derby to Birmingham mainline — part of the nationally important Cross Country route.

The section of the Cross Country line between Derby and Birmingham, which passes through Burton and includes the Branston crossing, is the fastest part of the line, with a 125mph line speed.

In the letter, it was disclosed that the original crossing, between Old Road and Warren Lane, was ‘one of the most dangerous and misused crossings on the East Midlands route’.

The Tory MP told the Mail that he plans to meet representatives of the rail infrastructure operator with councillors and residents to discuss their opposition to the temporary and permanent structures.

He said: “I am pleased Network Rail has responded to my letter and agreed to meet to discuss the concerns of residents about the crossing. It will hopefully allow councillors and residents to get their point across and allow us all to find a solution to the problem.

“I was surprised to learn that they classify it as one one of the most dangerous and misused crossings on the East Midlands route.”

The original crossing had seen one fatality and 12 near-misses in five years and the newly opened footbridge is intended to be replaced by a permanent crossing after 14 months.

However, residents have hit out at the temporary structure, describing it as an ‘eyesore’ and claiming that it even gives pedestrians a direct line of sight into their bedrooms.

Mr Higgins, in the letter, stated: “Following a detailed review of all of the crossings in our East Midlands area, it is critical that action is taken at the location to reduce risk.

“We are, of course, fully committed to working with the community to find a long-term solution that balances the requirements of neighbours, who may find a structure obtrusive, and users who are mobility impaired.

“There will be a full and open consultation process on the permanent solution which we expect to be in place by the end of 2013, when the temporary bridge will be removed.

“Our team is willing to meet and discuss any issues the community has with regard to the crossing.”

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