HUCKNALL Conservative MP Mark Spencer says he feels ‘disbelief’ after learning that a rail expert warned about the dangers of a crossing — 14 months before a teenage girl was killed there.
Thirteen-year-old Lindsey Inger, of Longford Crescent, Bulwell Hall Estate, was hit by a tram on the crossing, on the Hucknall-Bulwell boundary, on the night of Wednesday November 28.
The tragedy came four years after Hucknall woman Jean Hoggart and her grandson, Mikey Dawson, also of the town, died when they were struck by a train on the crossing.
Mr Spencer (pictured above) has seen letters from Peter Rayner, a former British Rail head of safety, who inspected the crossing last year on behalf of a cyclist who was injured when hit by a tram at the crossing in 2003.
In a letter he sent to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) in September 2011, Mr Rayner wrote: “If action is not taken soon to improve the present situation, another fatality will take place sooner rather than later.
“The present arrangements with a chicane, confusing signage, incorrectly-placed gates and a lack of audio or visual warnings, presents a potentially dangerous situation.”
In response, HM Inspector of Railways, John Cullen, wrote: “We consider the gates at either side of the Network Rail crossing to be of acceptably similiar design and size.
“However, I agree with your comment that safety on the crossing could be improved by moving the sanctuary gate and hence the decision point closer to the running line.
“This will improve sighting for users in the north by removing the signal gantry as an obstacle. This will also shorten the length of the crossing.”
Mr Spencer, who is calling for improved safety at the crossing, has written to tram operator Nottingham Express Transit (NET), the ORR and the Health and Safety Executive, asking for their views.
He said: “The correspondence shows there was clearly a recognition within the railway industry that a serious problem existed at the crossing.
“I feel it is my role to make sure we don’t find ourselves back at the crossing in the future after another tragedy has occurred.
“I will be pressuring the rail authorities to come up with a feasible and realistic plan that is going to stop this happening.
“I believe some form of gate or audible warnings are necessary when a tram is approaching the crossing.”
Family members and friends of Lindsey are also seeking a safety review of the crossing.