Wigan dad fears wind-blown fencing risks causing a train to derail

Mark Ricketts surveys the wreckage
Mark Ricketts surveys the wreckage

A Wigan dad fears dodgy fencing at the side of his home could cause a train disaster.

Mark Ricketts has urged Network Rail to fix panelling dividing his back garden from the Wigan to Kirkby line once and for all after gales once again blew part of it onto the tracks.

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Only quick thinking by him and a friend prevented a train from hitting the debris.

The 52-year-old factory manager lives on Holden Walk, Pemberton, with wife Tracey and children Jordan, 23, and Darcy, 15. There used to be a double thickness of fencing between them and the railway line but four years ago the trackside one belonging to Network Rail gave way, taking the family’s barrier with it.

The company then took ownership of the border and erected a single wood panelled fence. But it is not robust enough and five weeks ago blew down in strong winds.

Since then it has come down another half dozen times. Depending on which direction the gales are blowing, the panels fall into the garden or outwards and onto or near the rails.

During one of the periods when the fence was down three weeks ago the family home was burgled, the intruder gaining access from the line.

They also have young nieces coming to stay and they can’t be allowed to play out in the garden without a proper perimeter.

Mr Ricketts said: “Network Rail have been out five times now and patched things up, but every time we have strong winds it all comes down again.

“The company’s emergency guy was here the other day and was shouting down the phone at someone saying that he couldn’t believe what was happening. Each time the fence collapses more comes away.

“This could cause a serious accident if new and strong fence isn’t installed urgently.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “As there is not a secure boundary at this location, where possible, we will repair and replace smaller sections of the fence and secure larger gaps so it is not possible to access the railway.

"In the long term, we will be putting a secure fence on the railway boundary, which we will be responsible for, and are currently planning this to be completed in the next 12 months.”