Children narrowly escape injury after rubble falls from railway bridge

Basingstoke Gazette: Childminders Petina Carter, Carolynn Cox, Deanna Nash and Lesley Turner with Cllr Sven Godesen at the railway bridge near Barton’s Mill, Old Basing Childminders Petina Carter, Carolynn Cox, Deanna Nash and Lesley Turner with Cllr Sven Godesen at the railway bridge near Barton’s Mill, Old Basing

A GROUP of children were lucky to escape serious injury after rubble fell off a Basingstoke railway bridge.

Lesley Turner, 42, was escorting 30 youngsters, aged from babies up to 10-years-old, from school with three other childminders along a footpath in Old Basing when the incident happened.

According to the group, red brickwork fell from the railway bridge that crosses the River Loddon, about 100 metres from Barton’s Mill pub.

Mrs Turner, from Lychpit, and the other childminders Carolynn Cox, 57, Petina Carter, 59, and Deanna Nash, 42, are now calling on Network Rail to install safety netting to prevent an accident.

Speaking to The Gazette, Mrs Turner said: “I heard a thud, and my first thought was a buggy had turned over. I turned round and saw Deanna with a look of horror on her face.

“My main concern was to get the children out of the way and to get them to a safe place. I was terrified of what could have happened.”

According to Network Rail, the bridge has suffered “cosmetic damage” due to cold weather.

Mrs Turner added: “If bricks can fall because of frost damage, then you would surely want netting underneath?”

Ms Carter said: “Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but if a brick hit anyone then it probably would have been fatal.”

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Basing councillor Sven Godesen has called for the bridge to undergo a proper examination.

“It is a well-used footpath and the bridge needs a detailed and thorough inspection to see if there are any loose bricks,” he said. “If it is frost damaged, then it needs to be seen if there is a risk.”

In a statement, Network Rail, which is responsible for the bridge’s upkeep, said it has investigated the incident.

A spokesman for the Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance said: “We have inspected the bridge and found no structural damage. A small amount of masonry was discovered underneath the bridge which appears to be cosmetic damage, possibly caused by the recent first few days of cold weather.

“We will continue to monitor the bridge, and anyone with concerns should report them on 08457 114 141.”

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