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Published on : Thursday, December 17, 2015
Motorists will have less time to wait at Oulton Broad North level crossing near Lowestoft after changes made by Network Rail.After listening to concerns raised by the community and Peter Aldous MP, changes are to be made to signalling equipment connected to the crossing next year in a bid to reduce traffic congestion in the area.
Work will start in February and is set to be completed in October 2016. The station is located on a busy road and whenever trains are either approaching or at the station, the level crossing barriers come down to keep motorists and pedestrians safe.
However, because of the current signalling arrangements at the crossing the barrier can be down for up to three-and-a-half minutes for each train. This can cause heavy congestion, particularly at peak times in the morning and evening when six trains an hour travel on this line.
By moving a signal 50 metres further down the platform, trains will be able to run into the station while the crossing remains open to vehicles. The aim is to reduce barrier down time to around one minute and thirty five seconds per train.
Richard Schofield, Network Rail route managing director, said: “We listened to the community in Oulton Broad and once this work is complete, it will reduce congestion and make a positive difference to people in the area. We appreciate that it can be frustrating for people to wait at a level crossing but barriers are there to protect motorists and pedestrians. Where we can, we will always look at how we can keep this to a minimum while keeping everyone safe.
“The work we’re doing at Oulton Broad is a small but vital part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to make sure that growing numbers of people can travel by rail and that the railway continues to support economic growth.”
Peter Aldous, Member of Parliament for Waveney: “It is great news for Lowestoft and Oulton Broad that Network Rail have now decided to make this happen. With the barriers down for less time, the traffic will flow better, and hopefully have a significant impact on the area. This is something that many people have been campaigning on for some time.”
Councillor Colin Law, Leader of Waveney District Council: “The modifications to Oulton Broad North railway station by Network Rail are something that we have been pushing for and, led by the MP, we are delighted that this is now happening. This will be great news for residents, businesses and those travelling through Oulton Broad, reducing barrier down-time and improving traffic flow.”
James Reeder, Chairman of Lowestoft & Waveney Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our members have identified the delays at the Oulton Broad North crossing as a major problem when moving between customers and receiving deliveries. Employees are continually frustrated travelling to and from work and have to leave extra time to ensure that they can get to work on time. The long queues quickly and regularly form when the barriers go down. The Chamber has calculated that with the improvements that Network Rail are implementing it will bring a reduction of 60% in the time the barriers are down for trains travelling from Lowestoft to Norwich which will obviously help the lengthy queue from forming. This vital piece of infrastructure improvement will certainly help our hardworking businesses in and around Lowestoft and encourage future investment in our town.”
Suffolk County Councillor Guy McGregor said: “As Suffolk county councillor with special responsibility for rail issues I am delighted to have worked with Peter Aldous to get this commitment from Network Rail. This may be regarded as a small step in reducing congestion in Oulton Village but it is still very welcome and will also improve passenger rail services. In recent years we have seen an hourly service on the line to Ipswich, supported by Peter Aldous in Parliament and made possible by the £1 million contribution from Suffolk County Council.”