Normans Bay residents are angry at Network Rail’s decision to go full steam ahead with changes to how the level crossing operates and say lives will be put at risk.
The crossing is currently manually-operated and closed overnight between 10pm-7am. Network rail plan to change it to a 24 hour remotely controlled crossing operated from a control centre at Three Bridges.
Resident Nick Munro said: “We have enlisted the support of our MP and our local district councillors had several meetings with representatives from Network Rail. A senior representative of the Office of Rail Regulation visited Normans Bay to see for himself that it is impossible to see over the crossing from one side to the other. He was convinced that a single lane crossing operated remotely as proposed by Network Rail would present unacceptable risks and advised us that he would not sign-off the arrangement proposed by Network Rail. Despite this, Network Rail continues to insist that this is the only arrangement on the table.”
Nick said Normans Bay residents also have concerns about the impact of additional traffic on the road through the village - an Unadopted Highway maintained by the village by means of voluntary contribution - and the reduction of security at night due to 24 hour operation of the crossing under the proposed arrangement.
A spokesman for Network Rail said they are modernising this crossing as part of a wider resignalling project, claiming it will improve the reliability of the railway and safety at level crossings, adding: “The crossing will be monitored by CCTV and controlled by signallers in our new route operating centre in Three Bridges. “We will also be making improvements to the road on the approach to the crossing. We have discussed proposals with residents, interested parties and the ORR. The majority of the level crossing equipment has been installed and we have yet to complete the civil engineering works to the road layout. Further testing of the crossing will be carried out in the coming weeks. There has been a delay to the project and we hope to announce a revised date for the introduction of the new crossing soon. When we are confident of our delivery dates, we will be discussing with our stakeholders.”