Berkshire

Ufton Nervet level crossing: Rail bridge design unveiled

Artist's impression of the bridge planned for Ufton Nervet rail crossing Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Network Rail said the bridge was designed to "blend in with the environment"

A design for a bridge replacing a "notorious" level crossing where 11 people have been killed since 2004 has been unveiled by Network Rail.

The firm said work on the structure at Ufton Nervet, in Berkshire, would start in 2016, subject to planning permission.

The rail operator has previously been criticised for not building a bridge sooner.

It had described the site as "complicated and constricted".

Brian Drysdale had been waiting for the results of an HIV test when he parked his car on the crossing in 2004, killing himself and six people aboard a train.

A further 140 were injured, the Office of Rail and Road said.

Four people have since died at the site.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Seven people died at Ufton Nervet when a train hit a parked car on 6 November 2004
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The 2004 victims from left to right: Train driver Stanley Martin, Emily Webster, Charlie Matthews, Anjanette Rossi and Louella Main, and Barry Stevens

Julian Burnell, from Network Rail, said the bridge had been "specifically designed to blend in with the environment as much as possible".

He said it would be no more than 9m (29ft) high and would have earth banks on either side and be planted with native trees.

"Notoriety" and "misuse" of the level crossing had led to the need for a bridge, Mr Burnell said.

He added that it had "been in the pipeline for a very long time".

Network Rail said it had been working closely with West Berkshire Council on the plans and hoped to submit a planning application after the election.

The council said the bridge proposal was not a "joint partnership" with Network Rail, but added it had received amended plans from the firm after its "initial safety concerns".

The authority added it would "carefully assess those before responding".

Once work starts, the rail firm said it would take less than 12 months to complete.

Mr Burnell said Network Rail had closed 900 level crossings over the past five years, with 600 more expected to close by the end of 2019.

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption The last death at Ufton Nervet level crossing happened in October
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Brian Drysdale had been waiting for an HIV test when he parked his car on the Ufton Nervet level crossing in 2004 and turned the lights off

The people who died in the 2004 crash

  • Barry Stevens, 55, from Wells, Somerset
  • Anjanette Rossi, 38, from Speen, Berkshire
  • Her nine-year-old daughter Louella Main
  • Train driver Stanley Martin, 54, of Torquay, Devon
  • Emily Webster, 14, of Doccombe, Devon
  • Charlie Matthews, 72, of Warminster, Wiltshire
  • Brian Drysdale, 48, of Reading, Berkshire

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