A village community would be destroyed if rail crossings at Queen Adelaide are closed, residents warn

- residents fear there are plans to close one or more of them.

- residents fear there are plans to close one or more of them. - Credit: Archant

Plans to close one or more of three railway crossings at Queen Adelaide would destroy a community by cutting it in half, residents have warned.

Map shows Queen Adelaide crossings that are under discussion between the community and Network Rail

Map shows Queen Adelaide crossings that are under discussion between the community and Network Rail and Cambridgeshire County Council - Credit: Archant

The closure idea is for safety amid plans to increase rail freight on the lines, yet Network Rail insist it is early stages of information gathering.

Queen Adelaide is in the top 20 areas in the country for barrier dodgers, hence the safety fears with more rail freight planned for the lines, according to a former local councillor, who warned that any closure would devastate village life .

A resident who cycles to his job as a care worker at the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust in Ely said it would cut the community in half and for some, a 200 yard walk to village hall events, would turn into a five mile drive.

For others a two mile trip to Ely would jump to 12 miles.

Former councillor and parliamentary candidate, Rupert Moss-Eccardt, said that in 2016 the county council tendered a contract to look at the impact of crossing closures.

He said: “I want to avoid the situation where public meetings are held simply to say they had a consultation then go ahead and close the lines anyway.

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“The consultation was to close one, two or three lines. To do so would destroy our community.”

Care worker Mark Shelton said he cycles two miles to work in Ely but if the crossing closure goes ahead his commute would increase to five miles.

“I am on the village hall committee. Closing the crossing will cut the village in two,” he said.

“Residents who walk 200-300 yards to an event at the hall will have to drive five miles into Ely, along Queen Adelaide Way, and back into the village.

“They will not do this. I fear the village hall will have to close.

“This is an unacceptable price to pay for more rail freight. I am sure road traffic will be willing to wait a few more minutes while barriers are down.”

Queen Adelaide Way is subsiding and full of potholes and already takes a lot of heavy lorry transport, he added.

The meeting organised by Cambridgeshire County Council and Network Rail was advertised as an “engagement event” to understand how residents and businesses use the roads in that area.

A county council spokesman said there was a: “Wider aspiration to see an increase in train services to improve connectivity through the county and beyond.

“To increase the number of services they need to look at the impact more trains would have on level crossings.”

Cllr Ian Bates, chairman of the County Council’s Economy and Environment committee, said: “We want to have a conversation with local residents and businesses about the impact this will have and understand how people use the area.

“At this early stage we want to gain the widest understanding of how people travel in the area. Their feedback will help inform future transport solutions.”

Meliha Duymaz, interim route managing director for the Anglia route from Network Rail said: “The Ely area is a major bottleneck for the rail network and for future growth.

“Any future increase in the number of freight and passenger trains would mean that there would be a knock on effect for the level crossings in terms of safety and traffic build up.

“We want to work closely with residents of Queen Adelaide to understand how it effects their daily lives today and how it impact them in the future.