Charlton Champion exclusive: Network Rail has said it plans to close the foot crossing at the Angerstein Wharf branch line after all, two years after backing away from initial plans to block off the much-used link.
The historic crossing, one of the last of its kind left in London, connects residents in and near Fairthorn Road, Charlton, with Farmdale Road in east Greenwich and a footbridge over the A102 to Westcombe Park station.
Network Rail originally planned to close the crossing in 2019 as part of a resignalling programme, but it was met with a huge outcry from local residents, councillors, and the local MP Matt Pennycook, with over 2,000 people signing a petition.
The track company announced a review of the plans and apologised to local residents for not giving enough notice.
The crossing, originally built for farm workers in the 1850s, has grown in importance in recent years with the development of new housing on the old Thorn Lighting site between Victoria Way and Fairthorn Road. The newer Synergy development, which welcomed its first residents last year, offering a direct link to Gurdon Road and the crossing.
Many of these homes overlook the Greenwich railway line and are within sight of Westcombe Park station, but no provision was made to improve access to the station with residents left to depend on the foot crossing.
Network Rail, which has recently installed gates at the crossing, said the number of incidents on the line – which regularly sees freight trains to heading to Angerstein Wharf on the Thames – meant it had to act.
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route director for Kent, told The Charlton Champion: “We have announced today our intention to close Angerstein level crossing near Charlton due to the safety risk it poses to users, passengers and our rail colleagues. Angerstein crossing is currently registered as the most dangerous of nearly 350 level crossings which we operate in Kent, with many incidents where drivers of trains had to apply their emergency brakes to avoid people on the track.
“The closure will not be immediate, and we will be in close communication with the local community about the alternative route which is chosen. We understand that many residents will be disappointed by this closure but their safety and that of passengers and rail colleagues is our priority.”
PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION
We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. And we’ll do the others better than anyone else. We can’t do it without your help.
– Please tell us about your news and events
– Become a monthly supporter at presspatron.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion