Relative of crossing victim demands safety measures

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Alice Holt Crossing ()

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A RELATIVE of the man killed on the Alice Holt footpath railway crossing at Bentley station five years ago is urging for it to be closed or improved.

Delia Thomas’s appeal to Network Rail comes on the eve of a second public consultation about it at Bentley Memorial Hall on Tuesday at 7.30pm.

Derek Thomas, 83, was struck by a train while attempting to cross the line on his mobility scooter at 4.20pm on October 5, 2016.

At the first public consultation on September 22, Network Rail proposed closing the Alice Holt and Buckhorn Oak footpath crossings, replacing them with a footbridge with lifts at a cost of £4 million.

Suggestions from the 50 residents attending – including a tunnel, gates, warning lights and alarms – were dismissed as either not feasible or unsafe.

Delia, who lives in Alton, said: “I am the sister-in-law of the deceased of the accident, the repercussions of which are still being deeply felt by our family worldwide.”

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into Mr Thomas’s death said: “It is probable that the user did not see the train or misjudged when it would arrive at the crossing, perhaps due to sun glare, when deciding to cross. The mobility scooter user’s opportunity to see the approaching train was limited by the design of Alice Holt crossing, in particular the fencing.”

Delia said: “The circumstances at the time of the accident coincided to produce a dangerous situation which we sincerely hope will never happen again, but it cannot be left to chance.

“This crossing was designated as one of the top 10 most dangerous in the whole of the UK and we were told by Network Rail that all such crossings will be replaced or altered by 2025.

“The safety of the public must be the first priority.”

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