Wisbech smallholder left stranded after disused railway line next to his property is blocked
11:12 27 November 2012
WISBECH smallholder Victor Britain told of the shock at finding two concrete pumps being used to block up the road he’s used for 30 years to get to his home.
Network Rail’s decision to close the unmanned Bramley Line crossing on New Bridge Lane has left Victor Britain with an arduous journey if he wants to go out.
The 76-year-old must taken a two to three mile diversion through an industrial area, down a narrow road with parked cars and along a winding waterlogged path to get to the main road.
He says he’s been told it is Network Rail policy to close railway crossings as a safety precaution but the stretch of line near Victor’s property has not been used since 1981 and lies derelict.
Victor has an ill wife and is concerned the emergency services would have great difficulty finding the house if they were ever to be summoned.
He said: “If we should need an ambulance we are in trouble. They would never be able to find us.
“My postcode does not come up when you type it in.”
The crossing used to have gates and residents were given a key but they were vandalised.
Some residents have complained about cars using the lane as a shortcut.
A county council spokesman claimed it was not their decision to close the path.
He said: “We had no jurisdiction over the road. It was the responsibility of Network Rail.
“Even if the county had wanted the work stopped it was powerless to do so.”
County Councillor Simon King attempted to reassure Mr Britain that an ambulance would be able to find the house if it were called.
He said: “What we said to him was all the emergency services have been notified of this closure and that they need to take a different route.”
“I have a great deal of sympathy for him but the fact is this situation does exist in other parts of the country and have been closed for the same reasons.”
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “The crossing was originally a public road but was downgraded to a private crossing many years ago which meant it could only be used by those who owned land on both sides of the railway in the area.
“Following various transfers of land ownership, there is now no common ownership on both sides of the railway, meaning there are no remaining rights of way.
“ We have liaised with the highways authority at the council and brought this to the attention of those living nearby.
“If any members of the public have any other queries they can contact our helpline on 08457 114141.”
MP Steve Barclay promised to investigate.