Keith Braithwaite’s home in West Kirby, Merseyside, is bordered by a fence installed by Network Rail to separate his house from the busy rail line – but it was destroyed during Storm Arwen’s heavy winds on Friday
Image: Liverpool Echo)
A man says his fence destroyed by Storm Arwen cannot be replaced because Network Rail officially own it.
Keith Braithwaite’s home in West Kirby, Merseyside, is bordered by a fence installed by Network Rail to separate his house from the busy rail line.
But the fence was completely destroyed during Storm Arwen’s heavy winds on Friday leaving a hole just feet away from the line.
Mr Braithwaite, 60, said he has called and emailed Network Rail but there has still been no-one out to fix it nearly a week on since it was destroyed.
He said: “I’ve called them three times and emailed as well. The email just told me to fill out a survey.
“I’ve spoke with three different people and they said they were going to treat it as an emergency, reports the Liverpool Echo.
“When I called on the Friday someone said they were going to come down in the early hours of the morning but I’ve just been waiting since.”
Keith said a big issue is now that children are able to access the train line, by using the gap in his fence, and he fears for their safety.
He added: “I’ve got children climbing over as well. They’re about six or seven and keep trying to come down. There’s a school just down the road.
“We have to sit there constantly in limbo watching to make sure the kids don’t get on the wall and climb on the track again.
“There’s also debris from the fence on the ground. If it blows in front of a train it could cause accidents.”
On the Network Rail website the company states: “We’re responsible for the fencing that forms the boundary to the railway.
“If there’s a problem with our fencing we will either fix the fence or replace it.
“This doesn’t apply to other fences that may be parallel to our boundary measure.
“If there’s a gap and we can’t immediately carry out a permanent repair, then we’ll do a temporary repair first of all.
“If we can’t repair the fence to a safe standard, and a fence is needed to keep the railway safe, we’ll replace it with a new one of a similar size and type.”
Keith said in the past he has had to have staff from Network Rail’s health and safety team on site when work was carried out on his house.
He said: “The fence isn’t on my property it’s next to the railway track so it’s up to them to replace it.
“When I got some work done down the side of my house, their health and safety team had to be there.
“They wouldn’t let anyone on the wall side of the track, so I can’t see it being my responsibility on that side of the wall.”
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Storm Arwen cause widespread destruction across the country’s rail network and our engineers are working round the clock to fix the damage.
“We’d always encourage people to report issues with railway fencing and thank this resident in West Kirby for doing so.
“The local maintenance team is aware and will make the necessary repairs as soon as possible.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.