Railway victim's sister hails move to shut Johnstown level crossing


Rory Sheehan

THE sister of a teenager killed at a level crossing has spoken of her relief that it is likely to be closed.

Network Rail has confirmed it is seeking to close the crossing at Bangor Road, Johnstown, in an effort to prevent another tragedy.

They have been backed by the family of 14-year-old Victoria Swift, who was killed by a Holyhead-to-Cardiff train there in January 2007.

Just three weeks ago, two 13-year-old girls survived a near-miss on the crossing at the same part of the track next to Bonc yr Hafod Country Park, where children play.

Victoria’s sister Jade Swift of Wern Las, Rhos, was 16 at the time of the tragedy.

On hearing the news, she said a huge weight had been lifted.

“It’s a huge relief and feels like a massive weight off my shoulders. It’s a huge step for me,” she said.

“I said last time that it felt like Victoria’s death was in vain because I couldn’t bear the thought of it happening to another child, especially now I’m a mum myself.”

Miss Swift added: “It still hurts so much when I think about Victoria but it is a little bit of closure.

“I can move on a little bit more. I feel happier just knowing people are trying to do something about it.

“To be honest, it’s been seven years. I’d hoped and expected something to be done sooner and for people to wake up to the dangers of it.

“I think the latest incident has shaken everyone and they realise it’s better to get something done about it, however long it takes, than never.

“I’m fully behind anything anyone can do to get it closed.”

Johnstown councillor David A Bithell said: “I’m aware Network Rail want to close it.

“Crossings are one of the biggest risks to safety on a railway. This news is very welcome.”

Sophie Bunning, 23, of Wrexham, was in the country park by the level crossing in Johnstown and spoke to the Leader.

She said residents would not be too put out by losing the access.

“A lot of dog walkers use it so they might be a bit unhappy about it – but it’s probably for the best,” she said.

Last week, a motion was put to Wrexham Council to close the crossing, and the authority are progressing with a legal order to do so, backed by politicians.

Now a Network Rail spokesman has confirmed the Johnstown crossing is on a list of crossings they are looking to close across Wales, adding: “The crossing at Johnstown is one of those being investigated and we’re currently discussing with Wrexham Council.”

The spokesman warned that to get the crossing closed could be a lengthy process, but that support from the council would be a big help.

Cllr Bithell added: “It’s a public right of way that takes you over to a field, but further along is a footbridge, which people could still use to get to the other side if it was closed.”

See full story in the Leader

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