Level Crossing Closure
This page contains a summary of the proposals for the closure of Foxton Level Crossing. The full feasibility study by Network Rail can be downloaded from here. A report on the public consultation, written by the Parish Council chairman Dr Nigel Oakley, can be found here.
LATEST NEWS: The proposed closure has now been deferred until at least 2020-2025! Network rail has been seeking funding to colplete the next stage of the feasibility study (to decide on which option to move forward with). However, they have now reviewed their level crossings and opportunities to close them. The outcome of the review is that no further funding for work on the closure of the A10 at Foxton is being allocated for the next few years.
Network Rail is focussing its current priorities on those level crossings where there is a chance of closure or diversion on existing routes (both public rights of way and highway) without the provision of any new major infrastructure. Level Crossing closure schemes, such as Foxton, that require significant infrastructure solutions, will be deferred until 2020-20125
The history of the proposed closure can be found below.
WHY IS THE LEVEL CROSSING CLOSURE AT FOXTON BEING SUGGESTED?
· SAFETY – to prevent accidents with pedestrians and road vehicles
· ECONOMICS – saving money on signalman and signal box
· INFRASTRUCTURE – allowing free flowing of A10
Network Rail have closed 750 level crossings in the last 4 years and plan to close a further 500 in the next 5 years.
Network Rail are working with Cambridgeshire County Council on this initiative. It is seen very much as a joint enterprise but is led by Network Rail.
This will undoubtedly be the largest infrastructure change to the village since the coming of the railway in the 19th century. Its effect will be very long lasting.
THE GOVERNANCE FOR RAILWAY INVESTMENT PROJECTS (GRIP) PROCEDURE
This is an 8 stage process:
1. Output definition
3. Option selection
4. Single option development
5. Detailed design
6. Construction, test and commission
7. Scheme hand back
8. Project close out
The feasibility study was completed in the summer of 2013, and now the project is moving into stage 3 of the process.
The length of time that the whole process will take is unclear, but it is likely that stage 3 will be completed by mid-2014.
There are 3 options:
· A straight line bypass
· A southerly bypass
· A northerly bypass
These are illustrated in the map below:
CHOOSING THE PREFERRED ROUTE
Factors which are taken into account include:
· Direct effects on householders and landowners
Having taken into account these main factors, the feasibility study suggests a northerly bypass option as shown in the map below:
SHOULD THE BYPASS BE OVER OR UNDER THE RAILWAY?
There are pros and cons for either option:
· Cheaper option
· Less disruptive to the railway
· Greater land acquisition
· Environmentally more unfriendly
· A negative visual impact
· Less land acquisition
· Less visual impact
· More environmentally friendly
· More expensive
· Difficulty with high water table
· More materials to remove
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE STATION?
Nothing definite is mentioned, but possibilities would include:
· Longer platform
· Car parking facility will be provided
To allow pedestrian and cyclists access to the station platforms will require either a bridge or an underpass.
Network Rail’s preferred option is a bridge, with lifts for cyclists and people with disabilities to use. Advantages and disadvantages are similar to those for the suggested A10 bypass bridge.
An underpass will allow more freedom of movement of all users and would have less of a visual impact, but would be more expensive and suffer from the same disadvantages as those for the suggested A10 underpass.
The preferred route of the A10 bypass will start just before Villiers Park and terminate by the Barrington junction with the A10.
Means of access from the village to the bypass both to the southwest and northwest are yet to be decided, but roundabouts would be the most logical and safest solution.
Through traffic not using the bypass would access the village either via Shepreth or Station Road as at present. Cambridge Road would become a cul-de-sac.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE CLOSURE OF THE LEVEL CROSSING FOR FOXTON
· It will remove any safety concerns concerning the level crossing
· It may well improve station facilities
However it will also:
· Further isolate the north/north-west part of the village
· Have a permanent effect on the village’s visual environment
· Cause major disruption to the village whilst work is carried out
It will also have implications on traffic flow through Harston and further afield.
We are at an early stage in this whole process. No decisions have yet been made, but they will be soon.
A board is being set up which will include a representative from the Parish Council, using views of local residents from our recent consultation. A report on the public consultation, written by the Parish Council chairman Dr Nigel Oakley, can be found here.
The full feasibility study can be downloaded from here.