Tyne & Wear

Level crossing closed after Christopher Walton death

West Lodge crossing
The West Lodge crossing provides access to private land

A level crossing in Northumberland where a teenage boy died has been closed by Network Rail.

Christopher Walton, 17, was struck by a freight train on the Newcastle to Carlisle line at the West Lodge crossing, Haltwhistle, in January 2008.

Network Rail was later fined £75,000 after pleading guilty to a health and safety offence.

It has now become the 600th crossing to close since 2009 as part of a national programme of closures.

West Lodge was a user-worked crossing, one which provides access to private land and should only be used by designated people.

Following the death, the gates were upgraded and additional signage installed while Network Rail continued discussions with the landowners to seek its closure.

Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail, said: "Level crossings are an inherited part of the infrastructure which we would never put in place today and we are constantly seeking ways to reduce risks at them."

"We have sought the removal of West Lodge level crossing for many years so it is even more pleasing that it has become a significant milestone in our national programme of closures."

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