Residents in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire, will soon benefit from a safer railway crossing as Network Rail prepares to replace the current level crossing with a new footbridge.
Work will begin on 17 October, with the new footbridge due to open in February 2017. During this time Network Rail will be fencing off the existing level crossing and installing a new footbridge with even, non-slip surfaces and lighting built into the handrails.
Stewart Firth, Network Rail’s principal sponsor for investment said, “Level crossings remain the most dangerous aspect of the railway in this country, and as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan we’re spending £100 million to make them safer for users up and down the country.
“Chandler’s Ford in particular is a high-risk level crossing that has witnessed three incidents in the last year alone, one of which involved two young girls, and there is evidence of deliberate misuse. When you combine this with the sheer number of trains that pass through each day, as well as the speed at which they travel, it really makes us concerned for the safety of the pedestrians using the crossing.
“By replacing this level crossing with a footbridge we can ultimately eliminate any safety risk. I’d like to thank the local community for their patience while we carry out our upgrades, and if anyone has any questions or concerns during the works, they can call our 24-hour helpline on 03457 11 41 41.”
During the work, the crossing will close and there will be a pedestrian diversion signposted. Engineers will also need to close a short section of Sutherlands Way, with a short road diversion in place via Hursley Road and South Millers Dale.
Network Rail has closed over 1,000 level crossings in the last five years as part of its safety programme.
As part of the project at Chandler’s Ford, Network Rail consulted Hampshire County Council, Eastleigh Borough Council, Test Valley Borough Council, Valley Park Parish Council, Chandler’s Ford Parish Council, and the Eastleigh Ramblers to establish the best alternative for the current level crossing. The final design was amended following feedback from residents and will now include additional screening to ensure privacy for residents as well as lighting to assist users in navigating the bridge and footpath safely.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.