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Celebration of working together at railway crossing opening
Father Vincent Woods with West Somerset Railway chairman Humphrey Davies and Watchet town councillor John Irven on the train behind campaigner Linda Stacey and West Somerset Railway general manager Paul Conibeare. PHOTO: Steve Guscott
SUCCESSFULLY working together was the theme of the official opening of the new wheelchair-friendly Goviers Lane railway crossing in Watchet on Monday.
Campaigners, volunteers, townspeople and railway representatives celebrated with passengers of two special trains which ran from Minehead to Williton with 50-minute breaks at Watchet.
The former layout proved difficult for less mobile and elderly people to negotiate, including Jim Kelly who died after his mobility scooter tipped over at the crossing in 2010.
The new £66,000 chicane system, funded by Somerset County Council, West Somerset Council and West Somerset Railway, has made pedestrians’ journeys to the town centre, Esplanade and marina much easier.
John Irven, who was instrumental in getting the project off the ground, said: “This is now our own crossing, reconnecting the town, and I ask everyone as a community to ensure our crossing is used safely and properly, and is kept in a condition we can all continue to be proud of.
“I hope our brilliant new crossing will continue to bring all of us closer as a community as we move forward together.”
A message from the late Mr Kelly’s family was read out at the ceremony, thanking everyone involved for making the crossing possible: “Our dad would have been very happy and proud to see this – he knew very well that when people work together, have a positive attitude and don’t give up, they can achieve beautiful results, such as this new crossing.
“Thanks very much on behalf of dad, too, and have a safe crossing from now on.”
West Somerset Railway general manager Paul Conibeare said: “It was good to see stakeholders and the local community coming together at the official opening of the Goviers Lane crossing, for which we have all been on a long journey.”