Mother's fears after Network Rail closes 750 level crossings

Charlotte Thompson (left) and Olivia Bazlinton, the two teenage girls were killed at Elsenham train station. Credit: PA Wire

The mother of a teenage girl killed by a train in Essex has said Network Rail still has a long way to go in closing "incredibly dangerous" level crossings.

It comes after Network Rail said it had reached its target of closing 10% of Britain's level crossings - 750 - since 2010.

Olivia Bazlinton, 14, and her friend, Charlotte Thompson, 13, were hit by a train in 2005 as they crossed the tracks at Elsenham station in Essex.

Olivia's mother, Tina Hughes, said: "They started off with 7,500 and are now down to around about 6,500 - they have got a long way to go.

"They are never going to be able to close them all of course. Obviously closing all level crossings is really difficult because sometimes there is opposition to closures, people want to keep footpath crossings or whatever.

"They have done a lot but there is a long way to go. Level crossings are incredibly dangerous places."

Network Rail has announced that it has invested £131 million in a national level crossings improvement programme since 2010.

The company has pledged to close a further 500 crossings in the next five years, investing more than £100 million over this period as part of its programme of work to improve safety.

Robin Gisby, Network Rail managing director of network operations, said: "Britain's railway is safer than ever before, but even so there will always be a certain level of risk to motorists or pedestrians where a road, footpath or cycleway crosses the tracks.

"Network Rail is committed to reduce that risk as much as possible and, if we are able to close a level crossing, we will.

"Reaching our target to close 750 crossings in four years is good news for Network Rail, train operators and of course the public, but we cannot be complacent."

94 crossings have been closed on the Anglia route, which serves Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, North Thames Estuary and coastal regions.

Chris Bazlinton and Tina Hughes, parents of Olivia Bazlinton. Credit: PA Wire