‘Forgotten’ access is reinstated after truck crash at level crossing

A forgotten pedestrian link to the town’s train station has been given a new lease of life following a crash.
After an incident last Tuesday when a pick-up truck overturned and came to rest on its side on the tracks, a neglected pathway has been given a revamp so that pedestrians could maintain access to the station while repair work took place.
The path, which runs adjacent to the train line from the station car park, was overgrown and difficult to access as were the steep steps onto the footbridge, known locally as Brunds bridge. In the other direction, the path cuts through Excalibur Industrial Estate towards Lawton Road.
It was originally thought the crossing would be shut for 12 weeks for repairs, however, Network Rail had completed the work by Friday morning.
After being made aware of the situation for pedestrians, Network Rail installed two shallower steps up from the path onto the bridge, put in a wooden handrail and strimmed the sides of the path.
Town councillor Jo Dale, praised on social media for contacting Network Rail so quickly about the access concerns, said after the level crossing reopened: “I don't think Network Rail realised the seriousness of the issue straight away and how bad the path was.
“I spoke with the track manager on Thursday morning and insisted he went down there to see for himself. When he saw the path and footbridge, his tone really changed.”
Coun Dale added: “They had been neglected for decades. The manager said 'I don't care if I have to do it out myself. We'll get it sorted today'.”
She was full of praise for Network Rail's quick response, saying: “They are the forgotten heroes of this crisis. They do a massive job and people aren't aware of how much they do as a lot of the work is overnight. They went above and beyond for our community.”
Network Rail said Cheshire East owned the land but that it cleared the path “as a gesture of goodwill”.
One of Alsager's representatives on Cheshire East, Coun June Buckley, said: “If they gave that path a decent surface, people from Church Lawton could get on it from Moorhouse Avenue and walk to the station instead of going around on the main road. It's quite a nice walk. It just needs some gravel put down and a bit of attention.”
Network Rail said its off-track team did some work to the steps and footbridge to make the pedestrian route safer.
A Network Rail spokesperson said last Wednesday: “We thank passengers and road users for their patience while our engineers fix the level crossing at Alsager station which a pick-up truck crashed into.
“The damage has caused a short-term emergency road closure. We're working as fast as we can to make the level crossing safely operational again and expect to have Audley Road open again by the end of this week.”
Earlier in the day, Cheshire East Highways had tweeted: “Following further communication with our colleagues at NetworkRail, we have established that the repair works will now take place this week and the road is anticipated to reopen this Friday. We apologise for the miscommunication.”
Cheshire East Highways had previously said: “Following further assessment of the damage at the level crossing, repair works are estimated to take 12 weeks and therefore the road will remain closed for this duration.”