Doubts raised over rail crossing bridge plan

View - Pedestrian railway crossing from Old Stoke Road to Mandeville Road in Aylesbury
View - Pedestrian railway crossing from Old Stoke Road to Mandeville Road in Aylesbury
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Doubts have been raised about proposals to replace a ‘death trap’ railway foot crossing with a bridge.

The safety of the crossing between Old Stoke Road and Mandeville Road was back the spotlight recently when a man miraculously cheated death when he was hit by a train.

It comes almost exactly 20 years came Aylesbury mother-of-four Gulab Bibi died when she was hit by a train there.

Previous community efforts to get the crossing closed or replaced have been blocked but Network Rail now says it is looking at a possible change.

However, Councillor Freda Roberts, who represented the area when Mrs Bibi died, questioned whether building a bridge would be justified and said it might make life harder for elderly people.

Mrs Roberts said: “If the railway people are getting afraid of people crossing that crossing then the obvious thing would be to put a bridge over it.

“But if you’re elderly you don’t want to be walking up steps to get to the other side.

“You can see the trains very clearly from the crossing.

“I wouldn’t have thought that it justifies a bridge because there are signs there telling you what to do very clearly.”

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “Where a road or footpath meets the railway there will always be a risk and we want to reduce the chances of this happening as much as possible. The surest way to reduce risk at a level crossing is to close it.

“We are looking at the feasibility of replacing the crossing at Old Stoke Road with an alternative way of getting across the railway.”

The spokeswoman confirmed this meant building a footbridge over the line.

Mrs Bibi, 44, was on her way to visit her husband in hospital in June 1993 when she was hit by a London-bound train.

Less than three years earlier, 16-year-old Steven Leathers died when he was hit by a train at the crossing.

At the time there were calls for safety at the crossing to be improved, but opinion was divided on whether a bridge would be a good idea.

Recently nearby residents have expressed concern again, with some describing the crossing as a ‘death trap’.