United Kingdom: Network Rail eliminates 10% of level crossings since 2009

15 Jul

Moors Gorse replacement bridge: source Network Rail

Moors Gorse replacement bridge: source Network Rail

The closure of Moors Gorse level crossing in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire means Network Rail has now closed 700 level crossings across Britain – around 10 per cent of the total – since 2009 as part of its GBP 130 million national level crossing investment programme.

Prior to the closure of Moors Gorse, cyclists and walkers had to negotiate two sets of gates to cross the busy Cannock railway line, where trains travel at up to 50mph. It has now been replaced with a bridge which can safely accommodate the passage of up to 3,000 cyclists each day – a vital improvement after new mountain bike trails opened recently in the forest, massively increasing the number of people using the crossing.

The majority of crossing closures carried out by Network Rail involve ‘user worked’ crossings, which are mostly of private status with no public right of way. While often situated in rural areas, many cross busy main lines. The barriers or gates need to be operated by the person crossing and warning measures can include miniature warning lights and telephones as well as signage. In many cases an alternative access for the user is either available or has been provided to secure closure. Around 125 footpath crossings have also been closed as part of Network Rail’s improvement programme and footpath crossings are the focus of the company’s current TV advertising campaign: See Track/Think Train.

Martin Gallagher, head of level crossings for Network Rail, said: “The surest way to remove the risk of someone being struck by a train at a level crossing is to close it. Since 2009 we’ve closed 700 and are on course to meet our target of closing 750 by spring next year, but there is much more work to do. Closing a level crossing is not always an easy process and we often need the support of landowners, local authorities and users. I look to their continued support as we aim to improve safety and modernise the rail network for the future.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: