The Swindon and Cricklade Railway Society is appealing to North Swindon residents not to cross the line running next to Oakhurst from Blunsdon to Moulden Hill.
People have been breaking through fencing to walk on the line and to cross it to green fields to the west. However there is no right of way explained Dave Peacey, society trustee and building and works manager. “The land is leased by Swindon Council to the society and we in turn are governed by railway authorities. People have repeatedly broken through wire and wood fences, ignoring signs telling them to keep out. But I can’t emphasise enough that they have no right to be on the line; it is the same as going on the lines regulated by Network Rail.”
The society is calling on residents now because more trains will be transporting workers on the line from June. “We are about to relay all the track south from Blunsdon Station,” said Dave. “We aim to complete the work by early 2011 and gain approval to run a passenger service to a temporary station on the edge of Moulden Hill, opposite Taw Hill.
“Even though there might not be that many trains using the line, railway lines are dangerous places and we don’t want to be responsible for a tragedy if there is an incident involving a train and pedestrian.”
Unfortunately railway volunteers have been abused by residents when asked not to cross the line. “We’re all trying really hard to create a beautiful attraction for Swindon and want to have excellent relations with both residents and visitors,” said Dave. “Quite a few people living close to the railway line are supportive of what we’re doing; it appears those coming from further afield seem to think they can do what they want and are swearing at volunteers, which is out of order.”
Oakhurst resident Joanne Murphy, who crossed the line when Dave was showing The Link where fencing had been damaged, said she was disappointed that people cannot cross the line. “It’s very sad that we’re being prevented from taking a direct route to the fields by the River Ray, particularly as there are so few trains. I appreciate the railway society is responsible for safety on the line but it will mean a long drive to Moulden Hill to walk the dog. We need a bridge to get to the other side.”
At The Link’s suggestion Dave Peacey is discussing the situation with local PCSO Pablo Gomez and the railway society is distributing a letter to Oakhurst residents.
Pictured, top: Swindon & Cricklade Railway trustee, Dave Peacey and Oakhurst resident Joanne Murphy and her daughter Abby.
Right: Dave Peacey with warning sign.