A bridge is to be installed at a level crossing in Berkshire where seven people tragically died in a crash in 2004.
Network Rail (NR) announced that it will “very shortly” begin construction of the bridge at Ufton Nervet.
The tragedy happened on November 6 2004 after chef Brian Drysdale deliberately drove his car on to the automatic half-barrier level crossing.
Series of fatal accidents
The 48-year-old from Reading was killed instantly when he was hit by a London to Plymouth First Great Western train, while train driver Stanley Martin, 54, from Torquay in Devon, also died.
It was one of a series of fatal incidents that has occurred at Ufton Nervet – only last month 60-year-old Gary Provins, from Calcot near Reading, was killed after being hit by a train. His death is not thought to be suspicious.
A spokeswoman for NR said the company has been carrying out “in-depth design work” since it announced its intention to build the bridge, and has now identified the best way of putting it “on a complicated and constricted site” with a road and a river nearby.
She added that NR had invested heavily in modernising the railway network in the west of England, and the company was hoping to be able to “proceed very shortly”.
‘Phase out level crossings’
Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT transport union, is among a number campaigners who have long been urging safety improvements at the Berkshire crossing.
He said it was a reminder of the “ever-present danger of mixing road with rail”, and vowed to continue campaigning for a quicker phasing out of level crossings.
They should be replaced with modern alternatives that are safer for both rail staff and the public, he said, adding that financial considerations and planning rows should not be the deciding factors in these cases.
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