Campaigners are celebrating as plans for a railway footbridge are unveiled – almost three years after a Leeds teenager was killed on the lines.
Natasha Elliott, 16, died while trying to get her dog off a pedestrian crossing point near to Morley train station in May 2010.
She was hit by a train.
The crossing – a public right of way – was closed in November 2010 and has remained shut ever since, following calls for improved safety.
Some such as MP Ed Balls (Lab, Morley & Outwood) demanded warning lights and signals.
But Network Rail say they have gone one step further after putting in an application to build a pedestrian footbridge.
Coun Neil Dawson (Lab, Morley) said: “I welcome the proposal from Network Rail to build a footbridge for the public to cross the railway line.
“The tragic loss of life in the recent past means it is necessary for the bridge to be in place before the footpath can be reopened.”
He added: “To be fair to Network Rail they have a whole national programme to replace all these crossings that are very, very dangerous. I have crossed the rail tracks at that point and it is quite scary when you consider trains pass through there at 80mph.”
The crossing connects Churwell to Morley and is well used by walkers, said Coun Dawson.
The proposed bridge has a span of 18.3 metres, with parapet heights of 1.5m standard over the railway. A curved steel ‘anti-vandal’ cage is also proposed to stop holligans from throwing items onto the railway line, and to protect pedestrian safety.
The steelwork is likely to be painted a ‘holly green’ colour, similar to other bridges seen elsewhere in the country. It is a simple steel girder bridge with enclosed parapets and approach staircases resting on individual concrete pillars. The existing path will be diverted to the bridge at either side of the tracks.
Nigel Bywater, Friends of Morley Railway, said: “It will keep people safe and create jobs.”