Network Rail apologises for disruption caused by closure of Plumpton level crossing: Plumpton Level Crossing

Thursday 8 Oct 2015

Network Rail apologises for disruption caused by closure of Plumpton level crossing

Region & Route:
South East
Southern

Network Rail has written to residents to apologise for the disruption caused by the current closure of Plumpton level crossing, setting out the possible steps that could enable the crossing to reopen in the short term whilst working to find an acceptable, safe, long term solution for crossing users and the community.

Despite its local popularity and heritage, independent risk assessments conducted for Network Rail over the last few years had identified that the level crossing posed a high safety risk, as well as being increasingly difficult to operate and maintain.

A £2m redevelopment plan was proposed in 2014 and Network Rail has been working with Lewes District Council since then in order to submit plans to redevelop the level crossing.

Listed building consent to remove the gates at the level crossing was rejected by the council’s planning committee on 30 September.  Unfortunately, by this time other work to upgrade the signalling at the level crossing site had already taken place, meaning that the original level crossing cannot be reopened immediately for safety reasons.

Steve Knight, area director for Network Rail, said: “We sincerely apologise to local residents for the disruption caused by the current closure of Plumpton level crossing.  No level crossing is entirely safe or risk free, but we know we have to find a safer long term solution for the level crossing at Plumpton. We cannot stand idly by and allow an outdated, high-risk crossing to remain in use when we know we can make it much safer.”

“We were wrong to assume that planning permission would be granted on 30 September and should not have started work on site until this consent had been given.  The resignalling work we have done at the site of the level crossing means the road cannot be reopened immediately.” 

“We are currently conducting a risk assessment to identify what measures need to be put in place to safely reopen the crossing and the road as soon as possible, whilst we continue to work with the community and the district council to find a safe long term solution.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Attached is a copy of the letter sent to residents.
  • UK level crossing safety is among the best in Europe. There are around 6,000 level crossings in use on the mainline railway, comprising many different types.
    • There were eight pedestrian fatalities and two road vehicle fatalities at level crossings in 2014/15.
    • At seven, the number of collisions between trains and road vehicles was below the 10-year average of 11 per year.

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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.

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