Tuesday 10th May 2022, 3:44pm
Mountaineering Scotland has joined with other organisations to press the Scottish Government's Minister for transport for a resolution to the Dalwhinnie level crossing closure.
Network Rail unilaterally closed this important crossing in July 2021, with no consultation and minimal notice to the landowner or local community.
Mountaineering Scotland only received official notification of this more than a week after the gates were padlocked and weldmesh fixed to the gates to prevent anyone climbing over. Network Rail claimed this was done on public safety grounds.
Mountaineering Scotland, along with other outdoor recreational groups and local community interests, including Ramblers Scotland, ScotWays, British Horse Society Scotland and Cycling UK Scotland, called for Network Rail to reopen the crossing and talk with the local community and recreational groups to resolve any matters that are causing them concern. A petition launched by Ramblers Scotland attracted more than 9000 signatories.
Since then local MSP Kate Forbes wrote to Jenny Gilruth, Minister for Transport, but the reply she received simply repeated Network Railís previous unsatisfactory response.
Now Ramblers Scotland, along with Mountaineering Scotland, Scotways, WalkHighlands and local organisations have written to Jenny Gilruth to give our arguments for reopening the crossing.
The letter emphasises that, contrary to Network Railís claim that it has no obligation to provide a route across the rail line, the route is a long-established Right of Way which pre-dates the railway.
And it argues that the closure has decreased public safety rather than improved it, as there is evidence people are climbing the fence either side of the locked gates.
The letter urges the Minister to meet with our representatives to fully understand the impact of this level crossing closure, to ask Network Rail to revisit its decision and the range of options it is prepared to consider, and to discuss what further steps can be taken to ensure such a situation does not arise again.