THERE are plans to close two level crossings following complaints that people have put lives at risk by misusing them.

The public level crossings at Yarnton Lane and Sandy Lane, Kidlington, could be closed in the near future with new roads and foot bridges taking their place.

Network Rail, which owns the nation's railway tracks, is looking to close the crossings as part of a national programme to close all level crossings with a high-risk of incidents or fatalities.

Plans for Yarnton Lane include building a footbridge for pedestrians to cross the railway and an alternative access road.

The existing Green Lane will be re-surfaced towards Kidlington, and a new connection created to join up with the A44 Woodstock Road.

The new road will be single lane with passing places for large lorries and emergency service vehicles.

The Sandy Lane level crossing sits on a fast-straight section of track between Oxford and Banbury.

At this location, a ramped pedestrian footbridge and cycle bridge has been proposed – with no access for vehicles.

The crossing is popular for shoppers heading to Yarnton Garden Centre.

Even though the closure plans have been made with safety in mind, the chairman of Begbroke Parish Council, Malcolm Ryder believed the amendments could pose a risk.

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Mr Ryder conducted a six-day survey of the crossing at Sandy Lane and believes the plans could cause problems for emergency vehicles.

He said: “Closing the crossing will put our lives at extra risk as it will take an extra four minutes for emergency vehicles to reach Begbroke via Freeze Way.”


He added: “Their argument for closing the crossing is to increase line speed but once the barriers are down it is just as safe whatever the speed the train is running at.”

Network Rail has claimed it is closing a ‘high-risk’ level crossing because of ‘incidents of misuse’, however, Mr Ryder disagrees.

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He said: “They are saying they are running an unsafe railway network as over the years they have had trouble with the barriers sticking and not coming down they have filmed this problem with a survey camera.”

Network Rail was contacted for a comment but failed to reply.