Rural level crossings could be closed or modified in the Ely area
- Credit: Archant
Rural level crossings across the Ely area are going under the spotlight as part of a major overhaul by Newtwork Rail looking at safety for farmers, dog walkers, ramblers and horse riders.
A total of 21 crossings are affected in the district which are among 30 under consultation in Cambridgeshire.
In the Anglia region 130 crossings are being looked at to see if they can be closed or modified.
Plans are still in the consultation stage and, if given the go ahead, would not come into force until as late as 2019.
Locally the crossings include Chittering, Barrington Road, Ely North, Furlong Drove, two at Prickwillow and Adelaide.
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The proposals, open for public comment, have been 18 months in the making and will potentially close or change the use of the level crossings by altering the public Rights of Way network.
Richard Schofield, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We know that public Rights of Way are an important part of country life in this region, and where possible, we will maintain this connectivity with the countryside, and in some cases will improve the Rights of Way network.
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“Our plans to close level crossings propose small changes to how people cross the railway but the closures will help us reduce the risks that level crossings pose, improve safety and reliability of the railway for the future.”
Closing level crossings and diverting to alternatives will make the railway safer by removing the point where people can come into contact with trains, he added.
The closures will also help improve reliability and enable separate, potential future developments for faster and more frequent servicesm he said.
None of the crossings involve closing public roads - these are where there are private rights only, where pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders can easily be diverted to a nearby alternative or where a new public route to a nearby alternative can be provided.
Consultation sessions are taking place throughout the summer.
The results will feed into agreed plans that will be put forward under Transport & Works Act Orders early next year.
Network Rail will continue to upgrade or close its highest risk crossings as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan.
• To find out more visit the Network Rail Anglia crossing proposals website