Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook has asked Network Rail to provide the evidence for its plans to close the Angerstein Wharf rail crossing – including why the track company claims it is one of the most dangerous crossings in SE London and Kent.
The state-owned company confirmed last month that it was to close the link between Fairthorn Road in Charlton and Farmdale Road in east Greenwich, which connects local commuters to Westcombe Park station. It had originally planned to close the foot crossing in 2019, but paused its plans for a review.
Network Rail has said that the crossing must close on safety grounds, but Pennycook has written to the body asking for the evidence as to why the crossing is deemed unsafe, and why an alternative tunnel or footbridge under the single-track freight line cannot be provided.
The letter comes after the track company held a consultation meeting with local residents last week, which Pennycook said had been followed by “uniformly negative feedback”.
I have this afternoon written to Network Rail regarding their latest proposals to close the Angerstein pedestrian level crossing, putting to them a series of questions that have not yet been satisfactorily answered⬇️ pic.twitter.com/HPfpdT8Fsa
— Matthew Pennycook MP (@mtpennycook) June 23, 2021
The nine-point letter asks:
- if Network Rail will publish the review it undertook after its earlier decision to close the crossing;
- for the evidence that passengers are climbing under or over stationary trains at the crossing;
- what other safety measures have been considered;
- the evidence behind claiming it was the most dangerous crossing in its Kent region;
- why safety ratings for the crossing had changed over the years;
- why Network Rail believes there is not a right of way at that location;
- what assessment Network tail has made of the alternative route via Woolwich Road; and
- what it is doing to address safety concerns for passengers who face having to use Woolwich Road if the crossing closes.
The crossing is one of just a handful of foot crossings of railway lines in the London area, and has been in existence since the Angerstein Wharf freight line was built across a route used by farm workers in 1852.
Network Rail, which has recently installed gates at the crossing, said last month that 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 and that it would be “in close communication with the local community about the alternative route which is chosen”.
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