Best foot forward

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The Scottish Law Commission is right to suggest Network Rail should provide more pedestrian crossings on the Scottish rail network (your report, 26 September).

Where walking from points A to B means a 20-mile detour to find a bridge or underpass ramblers are going to take a short-cut across the railway.

It would be much safer if proper gated and signposted pedestrian crossings were provided in areas with good line of sight up and down the track.

Network Rail uses public safety as an excuse for closing pedestrian level crossings but in reality it is finances which come first.

I live near a pedestrian crossing on a main line. Network Rail closed it, thus forcing children to take a longer and more dangerous route along a very busy main road to catch their train to school.

The crossing was reopened when I discovered it was a right of way and the landowner who gave permission to lay tracks on his land in 1855 had inserted a contract clause which meant rail operators forfeited the right of use if they closed the crossing.

This crossing has no automatic barriers or warning lights but is used by at least 60 people a day.

When someone was hit by a train and killed at the crossing Network Railed paid out £20,000 plus legal costs in compensation. Obviously this is more cost effective than spending £1.1 million on a pedestrian bridge which should have been provided decades ago.

As well as creating safe pedestrian crossings on existing routes Network Rail should be required to incorporate safe crossing points in all line upgrade programmes and on any new routes.

John F Robins

Bainfield Road

Dumbarton