Friday 16 Dec 2016
Safer railway crossing for motorists as new bridge opens at Ufton Nervet
Residents and motorists will benefit from a safer railway crossing at Ufton Nervet in Berkshire as a new bridge was opened on Friday, 16 December to replace the level crossing, as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.
The new bridge completely separates road and rail traffic at the site, which has experienced several incidences of misuse, including a collision between a car and a train which claimed seven lives and left many injured in 2004.
Network Rail’s regional director of infrastructure projects, Robbie Burns, was present at the opening, along with members of the Ufton Nervet survivors’ support group, GWR’s head of drivers’, Mark Heffernan, and local councillors.
The new bridge cost around £7 million to construct; funding for which became available as part of Network Rail’s ongoing modernisation work to bring Brunel’s railway into the 21st century. The level crossing is now permanently closed.
The preparatory work for construction involved moving the location of the memorial garden dedicated to those who lost their lives and those that were affected by the collision in 2004 on the south of the crossing to the north side, to join the memorial garden for Mr Stanley Martin, the driver of the train. This now allows easy access for those wishing to pay their respects.
Work commenced on site in April this year following public engagement events, and has been completed on time and on budget.
Network Rail has worked closely with the survivors’ support group through the process of planning and delivering this work.
Jane Hawker of the Ufton Nervet survivors’ support group said: “It is hard to put into words what the opening of the bridge at Ufton Nervet means to me.
“As a survivor of the 2004 crash, I will always live with the memories and the consequences, but the closure of the crossing means that I will no longer dread hearing about another incident happening there. It gives me a form of closure, and makes the area safer for the wider public.
“The recognition by Network Rail of the importance of building this bridge, at all levels of the organisation, has been liberating for me, and the personal dedication of all involved with the construction has been heart-warming.”
Robbie Burns, regional director of infrastructure projects for Network Rail, said: “The closure of this level crossing has been a long-time coming for those affected by the tragedy in 2004 and we are pleased that we have now been able to separate road from rail traffic at this site.
“I would like to offer sincere thanks to the survivors’ support group and residents, who we have worked very closely with during this project. Their input has been invaluable, and I am pleased that the opening of this bridge can offer a degree of closure on the tragic incidents which have occured here.
“As a part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, Network Rail has been operating a level crossing closure programme, which has already seen over 1,000 level crossings closed on Britain’s rail network. Our railway is the safest in Europe, and we will continue to work to improve safety at level crossings where possible.”
About Network Rail
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 19 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, more than 4.6 million journeys are made in the UK. 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.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.