Charlton Champion exclusive: Plans to close Angerstein Wharf foot crossing have been cancelled by Network Rail, people who live close to the branch line will be told at a meeting this evening.
The historic crossing over a single-track freight line, 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 had initially planned to close the crossing in 2019 as part of a resignalling programme. But it faced a wave of opposition from local residents and Matt Pennycook, the local MP, and the track company backed away and announced a review of the proposal.
About 675 people use the crossing each day, and they would have been expected to reroute via Woolwich Road had the crossing been closed.
When the proposal was revived in May, Network Rail claimed that the crossing was the most dangerous in its Kent region. However, The Charlton Champion revealed two months later that this claim was false – and there were actually 33 other crossings that were more dangerous.
Network Rail amended its claim to state that the crossing was the most dangerous in south-east London – however, there are no other crossings like it in south-east London.
News that the closure has been cancelled emerged in an email from Matt Pennycook to those involved in the campaign to save the crossing.
“It would appear that, as a result of the collective pressure we exerted, an independent review was commissioned by Network Rail which concluded that there are sufficient grounds in this case to disapply the national algorithm that the organisation uses to determine safety risk at individual crossings,” Pennycook said.
“As such, Network Rail are content to treat Angerstein as an exception to their general policy vis-à-vis such crossing closures.”
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 Bowen Drive development off Victoria Way, which welcomed its first residents last year, offers a direct link to Gurdon Road and the crossing.
Network Rail has been contacted for comment. It is due to hold a meeting with neighbours this evening to discuss the findings of its review.
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