Wednesday 10 Apr 2019
Improved level crossing safety on the Felixstowe branch line
Four level crossings on the Felixstowe branch line will be upgraded to make crossing the railway safer as part of a £60.4m project to increase capacity.
The level crossings at Morston Hall, Thorpe Lane, Levington and Westerfield will be temporarily closed while the work to upgrade them to full barriers, three with obstacle detection systems and one with CCTV.
These modern level crossings provide additional safety for everyone wishing to cross the railway, either as a motorist or a pedestrian. While we upgrade the level crossings, we will temporarily close each crossing between the following dates:
- Morston Hall closed from 4 May until 28 May
- Thorpe Lane closed from 28 May until 17 June
- Levington closed from 25 May until 1 July
- Westerfield closed from 25 May until 15 July.
The crossings will be taken out of service to remove the existing barriers and equipment. Over consecutive weekends when trains are suspended, each level crossing will then need to be upgraded, tested and brought back into service one by one. This is to ensure that the new equipment and signalling systems are performing as required and it is safe for the public to use.
When the crossings are closed, we’re planning to maintain access for residents and businesses where possible. The following diversions will be in place:
- A temporary single-track access road suitable for private vehicles will be made available and managed by traffic marshals between Thorpe Lane and Morston Hall to allow residents to use either crossing when the other is closed.
- A diversion route for Levington will be in place with traffic marshals managing traffic to continue to allow access to the Suffolk Yacht Harbour and local farm land
- A vehicle diversion route will be in place for drivers travelling to/from Ipswich through Westerfield and a temporary pedestrian bridge will be installed to maintain access across the railway for residents.
Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We’re focussed on reducing the impact for the people who live by the railway as much as possible.
“We have been talking with the communities affected to develop solutions to maintain vehicle access while these level crossings are closed. I want to thank everyone that has been involved in helping us to develop our plans to deliver these important upgrades which will improve safety for crossing users.”
Work to upgrade the level crossings can only be undertaken when trains are not running, usually at weekends to maintain safety. This means that each level crossing will be closed for several weeks while the main upgrade work is completed over consecutive weekends.
This work is being done ahead of the expected increase in the number of freight trains using the branch line that will serve the Port of Felixstowe. Operating more trains on the branch lines requires an increased level of safety at the level crossings which is why they are being upgraded.
Additionally, the level crossing at Trimely station will be closed for 36 hours over the late May bank holiday weekend from 00:01 on 25 May until 12:00 on 26 May. Arrangements are being made to provide residents with alternative parking while the crossing is closed.
More information about the project is available by visiting: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/felixstowe-branch-line
More information about rail freight is available by visiting:
Notes to Editors
- Rail freight contributes £1.7bn to the UK economy and plays a big part in reducing congestion and carbon emissions.
- The £60.8m Felixstowe capacity enhancement programme will deliver more capacity on the Felixstowe branch line to allow up to ten additional trains per day in each direction to move freight to and from the Port of Felixstowe
- Each train can take up to 76 lorries off the road, reducing congestion and pollution on local roads.
- Upgrading four level crossings to full barriers will improve safety for road users
- We’re building a new bridleway bridge at Gun Lane to continue to provide safe access across the railway for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
- The capacity enhancements will improve reliability of services for passengers travelling between Ipswich and Felixstowe.
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.