Crossing closed temporarily to allow safety inspections
A LONG ROCK railway crossing on which a grandmother was killed when she was struck by a train last October was closed last Friday.
Cornwall Council will enforce an emergency closure request from Network Rail, which will keep the crossing closed until a decision is made on how to improve its safety or to close it indefinitely.
A petition was started in the village this week to keep the Mexico footcrossing open after Network Rail supported a coroner's recommendation to close it following an inquest into the death of Jeannette Nicholls.
The 73-year-old grandmother was killed when she was struck by a train heading to Penzance last year.
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Hers was the second death on the crossing and followed five near-misses and two other incidents since 2007.
A Cornwall Council spokeswoman said a temporary diversion, which takes walkers 200m to a level crossing west of the footpath, has been put in place.
She said: "The closure will remain in effect pending an examination of all options to make the crossing safe, including the option of closure."
Network Rail has closed 600 rail crossings since 2009.
A spokesman said: "Following the coroner's recommendation for the Mexico footpath crossing to close, we requested an emergency closure and are pleased that this will be implemented.
"Network Rail is committed to improving safety at level crossings and closure is always our preferred option. We would like to make this closure permanent as soon as possible."
The petition is the second associated with the crossing after one was started last year by Mrs Nicholls' granddaughter Jodie Farmer to close it.
Her daughter, Vanessa Webster, said she and her family were pleased the crossing had been closed.
She said: "We are very encouraged that the crossing has been closed with immediate effect. This action is in line with coroner's recommendations. We firmly believe this is an important step in ensuring no one else is killed at the crossing."
Pip Penney, new owner of the Long Rock Shop, supports the petition to keep the crossing open and is collecting signatures in her shop.
She said: "We live in the village and we use the access to get to the beach. The shop has a new sign on the side and we get quite a number of customers from that way.
"It could really affect our business, especially in the summer when people come off the beach and buy a cup of coffee, sandwich or ice cream.
"They aren't going to do it if they have to walk along a busy main road. We are not going to have beach trade."