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POLL: Paramedic gives his view on Long Rock crossing debate

By CMToby  |  Posted: March 13, 2013

A paramedic has shared his views on the closure of a railway crossing in Long Rock

A paramedic has shared his views on the closure of a railway crossing in Long Rock

Comments (22)

A PARAMEDIC claims the closure of a railway crossing in Long Rock will hamper the ambulance service when responding to incidents on the beach.

Chris Taylor, who is based in Penzance, said that with the Mexico foot crossing closed paramedics would have to use the level crossing several hundred metres away to respond to incidents.

The crossing was shut in December after Cornwall Council enforced an emergency closure request from Network Rail.

A coroner had recommended the crossing should be closed following an inquest in to the death of grandmother Jeanette Nicholls, who was hit by a train on it in October 2011.

The council is reviewing evidence before it decides on whether to close the crossing permanently but the decision has been strongly opposed by residents.

Mr Taylor said: "I know from personal experience that many families use this crossing to access the beach. I certainly feel that access by the ambulance service to these families would be hampered if the crossing were closed and we had to use the level crossing several hundred metres away.

"I know from experience that an ambulance can back down the lane leading to the small crossing and it is, in my view, a really effective place to access the beach."

More than 200 people attended a public meeting in Long Rock in January where they unanimously agreed to keep the crossing open.

Robert Nance, a committee member of the Friends of Long Rock Mexico Crossing, said: "If people cross at the level crossing they are still going to come back and sit on the beach in the area of the foot crossing.

"I spoke to a former railway man who said that once the crossing is down it is very difficult to get it back up."

Mrs Nicholls's family have echoed Network Rail in calling for a permanent closure of the crossing. The 73-year-old's death followed five near misses and two other incidents on the line since 2007.

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22 comments

  • Tregenza  |  April 30 2013, 10:06PM

    Cornwall Council is now consulting locals - only 4 months AFTER they closed the crossing. You can read the response of the Friends of Long Rock Mexico Crossing to Network Rail's application for closure in 'case studies' on http://tinyurl.com/bokffoz

    Rate   4
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  • TheodoreV  |  March 19 2013, 3:23PM

    Some years ago I drew attention here to the neglect of the crossing by Rail Track/Network Rail and the irresponsible way in which, despite hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on an upgrade to the road crossing and track, an obvious opportunity to update the pedestrian gates was missed. The gates could have been interlocked, or even just basic advisory lights provided, to warn of on-coming trains. Any death is emotional but subsequent judgements need to be rational. Many thousands get killed on the roads every year but never result in road closure as far as I am aware. The reasons for the accident have never been fully explained. The Coroner has naively played into Network Rail's hand. They clearly wish to deflect attention from any culpability on their part and rid themselves of an ongoing responsibility. At the time of the fatal accident, I posed the hope that the Coroner would enquire into Network Rail's own Risk Assessment of the crossing prior to the event. Had this been done, I think it might have indicated that basic improvements had been recommended but not implimented. These (if made) may have prevented a tragedy and kept the crossing safely open. The questions that need to be posed to Network Rail are therefore: 1. Was the statutory requirement of a Risk Assessment carried out on the Pedestrian Crossing prior to the fatal accident and what did it recommend? 2. Why was the opportunity not taken during extensive upgrade works to address safety issues on the pedestrian crossing at the same time as the new walking surface was being constructed? 3. Why if they feel the only appropriate response is to close the crossing (rather than improve the safety) have they not closed all such crossings on their system, which presumably present a continuing and similar danger?

    Rate   3
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  • BeeOnTheComb  |  March 16 2013, 10:32AM

    I don't know about you but everyone I speak to is sick and tired of this 'nanny state' trying to wrap us up in cotton wool for our own 'safety'. Where did common sense go? How did we ever cope in the past? How did mankind make it this far? I'm personally sick of having it forced down my throat that I live in a so called 'free country' and aren't we all so lucky we have a democracy. We see time and time and time again that councils and politicians do exactly what they please regardless. It's time we got this right, once and for all...they work for us...and we pay them. What do the people want? I know residents that have lived near the foot crossing for years and years with no problem at all crossing it. If it were on a very busy main line outside a big city then the issue might be more understandable but it's not, this is Marazion/Longrock for goodness sake! We've seen a public meeting with more than 200 people unanimously voting to keep it open. Surely the public have spoken? Yes, it's a tragedy that the death of Mrs. Nicholls happened, of course it is and I feel deeply for her family. But that aside, life goes on. Do we make it illegal to cross a road anywhere other than a pedestrian crossing? Do we? Seriously. There are infinitely more 'near misses' on the majority of roads in the country. Let's see a bit of common sense here. I feel that so many of the population have been 'dumbed down' to the point that common sense has become almost a rare commodity. Keep watching your game shows, soap operas and of course, endless sport on tv to distract you from what's really going on. We've reached a point where what's going on with X-Factor makes the news! Is this for real? Meanwhile the nanny state marches forwards with more and more regulations, more and more CCTV cameras (again for own safety don't you know) and more and more meddling into the lives of those they're supposed to be working for. Use some common sense (if there's any left), make a new sign if you have to but keep the crossing open. Look both ways, listen. It's not exactly rocket science now is it? Wait until someone dies because a paramedic team failed to reach someone on the beach in time. Then perhaps we can close the beach or maybe ban people from venturing further than 200m from beach access points. Yeah, that's a good idea! When are we going to wake up?

    Rate   19
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  • modrep  |  March 15 2013, 7:43PM

    This access to our lovely beach and coastal path was the reason my family chose to live in Long Rock. Since it has been taken away from us our quality of life is much decreased, as is the value of our home. The level crossing is not just inconvenient, it is less safe – with no pavement there is no choice but to mingle with the traffic, and I wouldn't even dare attempt the route over the bridge to Marazion on foot. Some people have stopped going out altogether. The people of Long Rock have made it very clear that we know our crossing is safe and want it re-opened. I expect that the Council, whose purpose it is to serve and represent the people of Cornwall to see that this is done without delay.

    Rate   16
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  • Dantwo  |  March 15 2013, 7:01PM

    As stated previously, I have used this crossing for years (especially when my children were growing up) to access the beach. We never EVER had a moments problem - we looked and listened. 'Tregenza' is right - stop the sensationalism. This crossing is safe and for safety's sake should be kept open.

    Rate   15
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  • smp16  |  March 15 2013, 6:28PM

    The Mexico crossing is much safer than the level crossing, & as summer approaches it will be worse. We have used the foot crossing hundreds of times, & as we can see both ways, & if the barriers are up at level crossing, & we can't hear a train, we know it is safe to cross. If any of you have seen the damage to the bridge by the Station House, you will know this is no way a safe route to Marazion. Keep our crossing open!

    Rate   13
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  • The Rhythm Balladeer  |  March 15 2013, 5:20PM

    The visibilty in either direction from the Mexico footpath crossing is marvellous and should it be foggy or nightime then the alarm and flashing lights from the level crossing have clearly in the past been adequate safety measures. By all means install some extra lights at the pedestrian footpath crossing if it it makes you feel better but to now enforce a far more dangerous walk to Marazion for villagers along an unpaved road in the name of safety is totally ludicrous and beyond comprehension to anyone with an iota of common sense. Who is going to take responsibility for the first tragedy that occurs either on the beach because paramedics were too late or along the hazardous road as a result of some strangers' decision? So much for alleged democracy. This is what happens when decisions that should be made locally are put in the hands of regional ignoramuses.

    Rate   14
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  • josefkay  |  March 15 2013, 2:48PM

    Re. 'Mrs Nicholls's family have echoed Network Rail in calling for a permanent closure'. Would I be right in thinking that some members of Mrs Nicholls's family attended the public meeting at the Long Rock Memorial Hall and were amongst those recorded as having voted for the crossing to remain open? If this is so, the meeting organisers/minute takers should, perhaps, inform the Cornishman that that was the case and request that this fact is noted (for balance) in any subsequent reporting of this story. The Cornishman has 'form' on sensationalising and distorting the Nicholls family position, e.g. its story of Nov 11 2011 was headlined 'Family's bid to shut deadly rail crossing' and has the strapline 'The devastated granddaughter ... has launched a petition to get it closed'. In fact, the petition (which can still be seen here: http://tinyurl.com/csgj3qv) is headed 'The Longrock Crossing - Close It Or Make it Safe!' Moreover, the text inviting people to sign says 'It is my goal to submit this petition with the result of some serious changes being made at the Longrock predestrian crossing'. Thus its signatories are calling for 'changes being made', not for closure - ergo NO ONE HAS YET SIGNED A PETITION TO CLOSE THE CROSSING (those who signed this petition can only be said to want the crossing 'closed OR made safe, and are in favour of 'changes being made'). It would be nice to think that, now that this has been clearly pointed out to them, The Cornishman might be a little more scrupulous in their future coverage of this issue...

    Rate   11
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  • petedinham  |  March 15 2013, 11:57AM

    As a non-resident, I can't comment on whether the Long-Rock Mexico crossing is or is not safe but I can say from my own area that Network Rail are in far too much of a hurry to close foot-crossings on spurious safety grounds. Most foot crossings are perfectly safe if used safely. Unfortunate deaths like this one http://tinyurl.com/ahafkxv in my own village get blown out of all proportion compared with the same issues that happen every day on major roads (in this case exacerbated by the irresistible "celebrity" angle). That crossing was closed as a result for months afterwards but had been used extensively for years with no other major incidents. All accidental deaths are sad for those involved but they shouldn't be used to curtail the freedoms of others unless there are substantial grounds which, in the case of most rail foot-crossings, there are not.

    Rate   13
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  • robzrob  |  March 15 2013, 11:26AM

    @ Brian6666. Exclaiming 'fact' repeatedly is not an argument.

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      What should happen to the Long Rock Mexico foot crossing?