Kept in the dark by delays in repairing Abbey Flyer crossing light

Local residents Mudan Luo, Zuanming Li, Jamie, 5, Tan, 3, Sopwell Residents Association Committee me

Local residents Mudan Luo, Zuanming Li, Jamie, 5, Tan, 3, Sopwell Residents Association Committee member Rosalind Poor, Moira Connell, Cllr Sandy Walkington, Sopwell Residents Association Committee member Willem Hofland and Cllr David Poor are concerned that the lights at the level crossing don't work - Credit: Archant

Pedestrians have been forced to stumble across a foot crossing over a railway line in St Albans in the pitch black after it has remained unlit for weeks.

Residents have urged Herts county council and Network Rail to stop stalling and fix a light above a crossing over the Abbey Flyer line next to Griffiths Way.

The crossing is popular as it is near shops including Sainsbury’s and provides a shortcut for pedestrians from the Cottonmill estate walking into town as well as linking the Alban Way with the Griffiths Way cycle path, leading to Westminster Lodge and Verulamium Park.

Willem Hofland, of Grindcobbe Close, said: “I have reported it to the council as the light went out at the beginning of January. It is supposed to be repaired within 24 hours, but obviously it hasn’t been. I’m tough and am not concerned about my own safety, but I’m worried about other people crossing it.”

County councillor for St Albans South Sandy Walkington said: “It is incredibly dangerous to leave it unlit in this way when trains start running before sunrise, continue to sunset and with winter visibility often poor during the day.

“Cyclists, mums with pushchairs, young children and people of all ages and differing mobility use it.”

He called upon the council for a, “speedy resolution before there is a tragedy”.

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But Matthew Kelley, divisional manager for Ringway, the council’s highways contractor, said that because of the size and location of the lighting column, there was no simple way to repair the fault.

It is on a footpath close to the railway line, with no vehicular access.

He explained: “In this situation we would usually use specialist access equipment to safely access the lamp for repairs, however the column is eight metres tall and this height exceeds the capability of the platform.

“It has been referred to our design team who will consider alternative long-term solutions. We apologise for the inconvenience caused by the delay but we must ensure the safety of our personnel.”