AN UNDERPASS providing a safer route to cross train lines in Ingatestone was opened yesterday.

Brentwood and Ongar MP Eric Pickles cut the ribbon at the tunnel near Ingatestone Hall which replaces the old crossing, known as Footpath 37.

Network Rail completed the work as part of a wider scheme nationally after deciding the footpath was not safe enough for walkers to use.

Mr Pickles, who had spoken to Network Rail bosses about bringing a new crossing to the site, said he was delighted to see the underpass open.

"It is a terrific piece of civil engineering which will enable the good folk of Ingatestone to access the beautiful countryside so near their homes for years to come," he said.