NETWORK Rail has confirmed the Herefordshire signal box used to raise the barriers at a level crossing that led to the death of a county woman will be closed within 20 years.

Jane Harding died after the car in which she was travelling was in collision with a train at Moreton-on- Lugg in January 2010.

During a three week trial at Birmingham Crown Court, the jury heard that signalman Adrian Maund raised the barriers after he thought that a Manchester to Milford Haven train had passed.

The 43-year-old, from Caswell Crescent, Leominster, who had worked in the signal box for 19 years, said he became distracted after a farmer called him on two occasions asking if he could take his sheep across the line at a crossing further up the track.

Mrs Harding, a 52-year-old hairdresser from Marden and mother to 16-year-old Joe, died from her injuries at Hereford County Hospital.

The jury unanimously agreed on Monday that Maund did not take reasonable care for the health and safety of railway and railway crossing users after he raised the barriers when it was unsafe.

The jury also found Network Rail guilty of failing in its duty of care for the health and safety of railway and railway crossing users after they heard the company backtracked on installing an approach locking device at Moretonon- Lugg that would have prevented Mrs Harding’s death.

This week, Network Rail has said there are plans to eventually close the signal box.

“Within the next 20 years, the signal box at Moreton won’t exist as we are going through a massive national re-signalling stage,” said Network Rail spokesman Kevin Groves.

“They will be controlled by 14 centres that will cover the entire country and 800 smaller locations, like Moreton, will close."

Both Maund and Network Rail are due to be sentenced in April.