SURVIVORS of the 2004 Ufton Nervet rail tragedy have spoken of their relief after work to replace the ‘notorious’ level crossing with a bridge officially started on Monday.
Seven people died and more than 120 were injured when a train hit a car which had been deliberately parked on the crossing and derailed almost 12 years ago.
Since the tragedy on November 6, 2004, a further four people have died at the crossing, taking the number of fatalities to 11 in the past 11 years.
On the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the fatal incident, Network Rail confirmed it had found the £8m it needed to build the bridge and this week, the first shovel was put into the ground to signal the start of the project.
Jane Hawker, from Newbury, was in Coach D of the 17.35 high-speed First Great Western Service from Paddington to Plymouth when tragedy struck.
Asked what the start of the bridge work meant to her, Mrs Hawker said: “It means everything. It is what we hoped would happen for all this time."
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s managing director for the Western route, described it as a "really important day".
According to Network Rail, around 150 trains, including stopping services, through trains and freight trains, pass through Ufton Nervet every day.