Villagers have said they warned Network Rail about the dangers of a crossing at Tackley railway station five years before a pensioner was hit by a train and killed.

Residents in the close-knit community north of Woodstock were last night coming to terms with the death of village stalwart Margaret Evans, of St John's Road, who died on Monday afternoon.

Mrs Evans, who was in her mid-80s and a widow, had gone to the station to catch a train to Oxford at about 3.20pm.

What happened is unclear, but it is believed Mrs Evans stumbled or failed to hear the train - which was travelling from Dundee to Bournemouth - sounding its horn.

Last night, it emerged Tackley Parish Council had asked Network Rail to improve safety measures in 2003.

Commuters have to open a gate and walk across the track to access the southbound platform.

And passengers alighting on the southbound platform have to do the same to get to the northbound entrance.

Network Rail, which owns and operates Britain's rail infrastructure, was granted planning permission to build an underground tunnel at Tackley - but decided against it because a risk assessment last year concluded safety signs were sufficient.

Father Robin Gibbons, a lay preacher at Tackley Church, said: "This is a tragic accident, but we partly expected it.

"We have been trying to sort out the state of this dangerous crossing for years.

"These trains come up very fast. Sometimes they don't hoot and sometimes individuals get distracted. The parish council would like to meet with Network Rail to discuss further safety measures."

There is no suggestion the driver of the train was at fault.

Maureen Bishop,a neighbour of the victim, commutes to work in Oxford by train and claimed: "Most mornings the drivers do not sound their horns. It is more dangerous for people waiting for trains coming from Oxford travelling northbound.

"There is a bend which you can't see around and. before you know it, the train has arrived.

Network Rail spokesman Becky Warren said: "The fatality at Tackley station level crossing was a tragedy.

"However, British Transport Police has declared the fatality as non-suspicious.

"A risk assessment was carried out at this level crossing 10 months ago, which found the current measures of signs instructing how to use the crossing were sufficient."

She added: "Records dating back to 1990 show there have been no previous fatalities at this crossing."

Mrs Evans lost her husband Ted last year.

June Collier, chairman of Tackley Parish Council, said: "Margaret was a great lady who did a lot for the village.

"This incident proves we need extra safety measures at the station."