The father of a 12-year-old school girl who was killed at Moira Station over 14 years ago has welcomed the installation of a new £400,000 pedestrian footbridge.
Gregory Hughes, hopes that the footbridge will prevent more accidents but still urged passengers and motorists to ‘wise-up.’
A daily rail user himself Mr Hughes approached a representative of the Translink Users Committee some time ago, inquiring about the possibility of installing a footbridge at the busy Moira Station.
In 1999, Gregory’s daughter Olivia a pupil at Friends School, was killed instantly when she was hit by the Belfast-bound Enterprise train as she crossed the railway line at Moira Station, just yards from her Station Road home on September 16, 1999.
Since the accident Translink made a number of improvements at the halt.
“It is the only halt between Portadown and Belfast that does not have a footbridge or an underneath walkway for passengers,” said Mr Hughes.
“I live just 150 yards from the station and know just how busy Moira Station has got over the past 20 years. It is beyond recognition.
“However, as a train passenger I also see more and more people taking chances on a daily basis and see a lot of near misses close to the railway line.
“I made enquiries 18 months about the possibility of a footbridge in Moira. I don’t know if this came about because of my enquiry or whether it was going to happen anyway. I don’t know if I can really take the credit for it.
“You get people trying to jump the line. If you miss the barrier which could be down for a long time you could be standing there, while two or three trains pass by.
“So you not only miss the train but you could be standing waiting for a long time before you can get across again.
“I have seen children being dropped off who jump the barrier to get their train. A saw a jogger leap over the barrier as a train was coming. The stupidity of some people is just overwhelming.
“I have often expressed my annoyance at people. So while I welcome the footbridge people also need to wise up and have a little patience. One time a man with some children was behind a train trying to cross over. The children were terrified.
“More recently a motorist damaged his car as he tried to jump the barrier as it came down. He reversed and the barrier crashed onto the bonnet and then his roof. He was very lucky that it was only the car that was wrecked. Too many people are taking chances. They need to wise up.”