Locked out of trackside

Coun Richard Clayton at the new railway safety fencing near Orrell Station with local resident Norma Hilton, who alerted him to it's previous state of disrepair, and her dog Ben
Coun Richard Clayton at the new railway safety fencing near Orrell Station with local resident Norma Hilton, who alerted him to it's previous state of disrepair, and her dog Ben

NEW works have signalled the end of an alarming Wigan railway danger.

Parents have been concerned that crumbling fencing was allowing curious youngsters onto the busy tracks near Orrell station.

The life-expired barriers alongside the Wallgate-Kirkby line had dated from the steam age itself.

Now, after a campaign by ward councillors anxious to avoid a trespass tragedy in the area, Network Rail have installed new steel pallisade fencing which is effectively climb and vandal proof.

Conservative members for Orrell Michael Winstanley and Richard Clayton are “delighted” that the track authority have listened to fears from mums and dads.

They say that the missing section of railway fence along part of the embankment in Orrell also smartens up the area as well as providing an impenetrable barrier which should also help dissuade scrap thieves whose raids on copper core signal cabling have been causing expensive havoc to the railway system.

Coun Clayton had raised the matter with the Metro’s community safety department while Mayor of Wigan Coun Michael Winstanley spoke out about the potential fatal danger at the site at a recent meeting of Greater Manchester Integrated Passenger Transport Authority.

Coun Clayton said: “The missing part of the fence which was dangerous but it’s now been repaired and looks functional but smart.

“The Mayor and I are grateful that the railway authorities have acted quickly and we haven’t had to rely on headlines generated from some near miss or even worse, some tragedy involving a child.

“But there are other parts of the fence further along which look to be on their last legs to me and we will be working with Network Rail try and ensure this is also carried out as quickly as possible.”

Dave Caraher from Network Rail said: “There was a mesh fence along this location that we repaired last year with a couple of new panels.

“When we got the report from the councillor, our off track manager inspected the site and found the new fence had been completely vandalised, so now we have erected palisade fencing along the boundary.”

One mother who had made an official complaint to the councillors hailed the swift work carried out by the railway authority.

She said: “Children don’t take any notice of signs warning you that you can get fined for trespassing on the railway.

“After all, many of them know that if they get caught its going to be their parents who are going to have to pay.

“Lads see half broken fences as a challenge and once a few feet of this original fence went down a little more was going every week as youngsters using the footpath next door were larking about and pushing their mates over.

“We are all pleased that the railways are getting busier and there are more and more services.

“But it also means that we have to make more sure that youngsters can’t get onto the lines to play on them as well.”