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Extra barriers planned for Downham level crossing in rail upgrade scheme

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Additional safety measures could be introduced to a level crossing in West Norfolk as part of plans for a major upgrade of the borough's rail links.

A public consultation has been launched on proposals to expand network capacity around the Ely North junction.

And a crossing point on the A1122 in Downham is one of 15 locations along the line where engineers are proposing to install full crossing barriers instead of the existing half barriers.

Extra barriers could be installed at this level crossing on the A1122 in Downham. Picture: Google
Extra barriers could be installed at this level crossing on the A1122 in Downham. Picture: Google

Network Rail, the body responsible for development and maintenance of the rail network, says the additional barriers would be necessary because of the more frequent services that are expected to run following the upgrade.

Increasing capacity around Ely is seen to be essential to enable twice-hourly trains to run between Lynn and London, as well as expanding several other services across the region.

The company's project website said: "Upgrading these crossings to full barriers will also mean that the barriers will be down for longer periods which is likely to increase the waiting time for road users.

Ely North Junction (42338290)
Ely North Junction (42338290)

"We will need to undertake assessments to determine how this could impact the local road network in busier locations."

The consultation, which opened yesterday, also outlines proposals for expansion of the tracks around Ely itself, plus options for a number of other level crossing sites in Cambridgeshire.

Members of the public will be able to have their say on the plans over the next six weeks, with a special phone line and webchat facility also being made available until next Saturday, October 30.

Network Rail says it intends to set out preferred options for the scheme in the New Year, ahead of a final round of consultations. It then plans to submit a funding bid in late 2022.

Ellie Burrows, the company's Anglia route director, said: “This could be the most important stage of consultation yet as we present options that will be essential to releasing the capacity through the Ely north junction bottleneck and seeking to resolve challenges at key level crossings.

“Feedback will continue to inform our designs as we progress with this important project to find the right solutions for the railway and for Ely.”

Full details of the proposals can be found online via www.networkrail.co.uk/Ely, where a consultation survey is also available.

Printed copies of the consultation materials can be requested by phoning 03457 114141 or emailing ElyAreaCapcityEnhancements@networkrail.co.uk.

A consultation phone line will be open on 0800 1601780 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 2 and 5pm, Wednesdays from 5 to 8pm and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm from today until October 30.

Live webchats will also be available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm and Wednesdays from 2 to 8pm until that date.

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