Opposition from Cornwall

Before I read some of the rather offensive comments on this site from the vociferous opponents to the closure of the crossing I referred to in my BBC breakfast interview last week, I had already looked at the RAIB recommendations and asked to see the risk assessment for that crossing. I will consider the alternative solutions, but I have to say the attitudes expressed here do not encourage me to want to be associated with these people. What makes them think they know better than the Coroner?

Do they have no sensitivity to the family of Mrs Nichols? How dare people who didn’t know the state of her mind decide she was suicidal? It is appalling and I can’t begin to imagine how her family feel if they have see this kind of thing regularly in the local media – or are they saving those comments just for me because I have expressed an opposing view? Hmmmm…. No I doubt it.

After Olivia and Charlie were killed and again when Network Rail pleaded guilty when prosecuted over their failings at Elsenham, there were hurtful comments from people who think that they have a ‘right to reply’ and decided that if the girls were stupid enough to step in front of a train then they deserved to die. And because the crossing was working, it must have been their fault and Network Rail should not have been prosecuted.

I have watched the brief interview again to see what I could have said to cause these comments – I said that I knew that there was a crossing in Cornwall that Network Rail was trying to close. That closures always go though a period of consultation but some are so dangerous they must be closed. I didn’t even refer to the name of it! apparently some even complained to the BBC that they should have a right to reply!

If this particular crossing gets re-opened and someone gets killed there then I hope these people will stand up and be counted for their opposition. No doubt they will be the ones who blame the person, or their parents, with cruel comments to protect their position. I just hope that nothing ever happens in that community again – what a nice bunch of people they are!

In answer to the question posed by one of them – what would I say if a child were killed on the alternative road crossing?

I would tell the parents that I am truly heartbroken for their loss. But I would also feel relieved for them that they could see their child in the mortuary, hold their hand and say goodbye. Because if that child had been killed on a level crossing, having been hit by a train, they would not have that chance. I said goodbye to my little girl that morning nearly eight years ago and I never saw her again. For me that is still so very hard to bear.

Yes they may be right, the road crossing may not be the best alternative for this particular crossing, but don’t abuse me and write unpleasant things on MY website for wanting to close level crossings when I know how devastating such a horrific death can be.

Think about how you would feel if it were your child or your grandchild who was distracted and stepped out in front of a train. And then imagine how you would feel when people make snide comments about them playing on a phone or day dreaming – or if they were stupid enough to step in front of a train that they deserved to die. Or even that they were suicidal!

What I am trying to do is get Network Rail to improve safety at level crossings; either closing them or by providing as much protection as is possible, given their limited funding. When someone gets to a crossing I want them to be brought back to the present from what is distracting them so they think about what they are doing, I want them to have enough time to cross if they are encumbered with a buggy, bike or are just a bit slower than the rest of us.

We are all human  and we all get distracted and make errors of judgement. Fortunately the vast majority of time those errors of judgement are not fatal.

One thought on “Opposition from Cornwall

  1. Dear Tina,
    I’m afraid you are judging the local issue without the necessary local knowledge, and drawing mistaken conclusions.
    You ask ‘What makes them think they know better than the Cornoner?’. In fact the Coroner stated that closure would cause ‘minimal inconvenience’ when events have shown clearly that it has greatly reduced the number of people accessing the beautiful beach. Why would that happen if the inconvenience (adding unpredictable waits at crossing gates and more than 1km to a round trip) was actually minimal? The Coroner was misinformed and did not check.
    Another example : People walking east to Marazion, some to school and some to work, cannot risk unpredictable delays – the gates can be down for 20 minutes or more, so they are forced onto a very nasty road bridge where the risk is undoubtedly far greater than on the footpath across a single line track with far fewer vehicles and far better sightlines than on the road bridge.
    The fact is that Cornwall Cororner’s role in this does the office no credit at all.

    We have not decided that Mrs Nicholls was suicidal, our view is of her behaviour at the crossing which showed she would be at great risk in many places e.g. on a road, and for a whole community to be distanced from an immensely valued amenity because of that is very unreasonable.

    The people you ‘don’t wish to be associated with’ include 1200 local people who have signed a petition to keep this crossing open, and the 200+ who attended a public meeting in the village, and voted unanimously for it to open.

    When you got the risk assessment you should have been told that the risk to a person crossing here is estimated by Network Rail as 1 in over 11million traverses – a death on the road is more likely here.
    We hope that you can recognise that while improving crossing safety is good, doing it by closing crossings regardless of the implications and costs it imposes on former users is actually irresponsible, but it is happening here, and NR does not deny that it does not assess risks off the railway, and wants to close every crossing.

    Dr Nick Tregenza (former local GP)

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