Footpath SD194 Retained
15th December 2015
In 2015 the parish council was consulted by Network Rail on the possible diversion of footpath SD194 which leads from Lullingstone Lane up towards Eagle Heights, providing beautiful views over the valley.
Network Rail stated safety reasons for the diversion of the path to avoid crossing the railway line, despite no recorded accidents or fatalities. Many in the village objected to losing this path and the views that it offers. Network Rail arranged a site meeting with members of the public and the parish council and quoted various 'near misses'. Councillors and others argued that, whilst safety was important, the line of sight along the track was generally good and asked whether other safety measures could be taken rather than diverting the path back down the hill. At this point, train drivers were required to sound their horns on the approach to the crossing.
On 8th December a letter was received from Kent County Council stating:
I am writing to advise that Network Rail have formally withdrawn the above application to divert Public Footpath SD194 (part) at Eynsford. The reasons submitted by Network Rail for the withdrawal are copied below:
Following a recent risk assessment it has been established that the risk associated with this level crossing, and on which our application was made, has reduced.
Due to improved methods of calculating risk and the use of camera census data, we are now able to undertake a more detailed risk assessment of level crossings, using actual census data, rather than projected data; this provides a much clearer understanding of the types of users and level of use at level crossings.
We are not able to adequately mitigate the risk associated with this crossing via the installation of an audible warning system at the crossing. This system will replicate the sound of a train horn at the crossing but users do not have to rely on a train driver sounding their horn, as the system will detect approaching trains and automatically warn the user.
This means that no changes will be made to the footpath.