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Footbridge solution to rail crossing saga in Lincoln is winning public over

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: June 07, 2012

  • Pedestrians in Lincoln city centre face daily delays at the High Street rail crossing

  • An artists' impression of the plans which aim to solve Lincoln's existing train barrier problems

  • The suggestion for the crossing on Brayford Wharf

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Hundreds of people have visited two exhibitions about Network Rail's congestion-busting idea for new footbridges over the railway in Lincoln.

The concept of erecting pedestrian bridges, with lifts, over the level crossings in High Street and Brayford Wharf East is out for consultation and proposals will be submitted later this summer.

Network Rail wants to improve safety and end misuse at the crossings.

People were invited to discover more during information events at the Waterside and St Mark's shopping centres over the jubilee weekend.

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Katrina Spurr, 55, who lives in Sincil Bank, Lincoln, said she wants to see a swift resolution.

She said: "I still don't think that trains that don't stop here should be allowed to come through.

"It is easy to talk but if these plans come through I think we'll all be better off."

There are currently about 120 trains that pass through each day and the typical average barrier downtime is two to three minutes per train.

Officials at Lincolnshire County Council have predicted a worse-case scenario of the barriers being down for 40 minutes in every hour by 2013, due to a planned increase in rail freight.

Stewart McKechnie, 48, who lives in Dunholme, said he hopes the final design for the High Street will complement the street scene.

"I first came to Lincoln in 1984 for the RAF and the city has changed enormously since then," said Mr McKechnie, who works for Siemens in offshore wind farms. It is really important that this is done right and they need to maintain the train link to London.

"But with the High Street bridge in particular, it has to fit in with the aesthetic of the shopping centre and the High Street."

Retired banqueting chef Graham Samuels, 68, who lives in the west end of Lincoln, said: "My daughter once told me to drag myself into the 21st century, and quite frankly, that's what should happen with these crossings. Any improvement is welcome."

Lincolnshire County Council's assessment is that two sections of Brayford Wharf East and High Street would need to be made one-way for traffic to accommodate the bridges.

The authority wants access for both pedestrians and vehicles maintained at ground level over the crossings and this issue is still being discussed with Network Rail.

Retired civil servant Alan Waddington, 73, from Metheringham, said: "The bridges will certainly solve the problem of delays due to barrier downtime.

"As a pedestrian, I don't see that only having pedestrian access via the footbridges is a problem."

Karen Boulton, owner of Greens Health Foods, in High Street, said the bridges solution was the best answer to the issue.

"There's definitely a will to get this done," she said. "It just depends on how long it will take to discuss it and how long it will take to complete."

Mike Wells, who runs Candypops sweet shop, in High Street, said: "I think this is brilliant – it's the best solution.

"I think people will get used to having to go over the pedestrian bridge."

Network Rail spokesman Rachel Lowe said that 100 people had visited the display in the Waterside in the first couple of hours of it opening on Friday, June 1.

"What we have picked up is that people's views are generally favourable that something is being looked at to try to solve the problem," she said.

"Understandably, people said they wanted to see more detail, and that will come out of the design process."

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  • Bill_Bilton  |  June 16 2012, 10:55AM

    "now is the time for all local people to get in touch with their local MP and insist on them tasking network Rail with investigating alternative routes and not merely giving glib statements that the 'old routes have now been developed and consequently no longer available! IF YOU CARE, GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR MP!" Or your City Councillor. Going back to the old size of blocks, before the resignalling, would cut down the amount of barrier 'downtime' I was reminded the other Saturday afternoon, when held at the Wharf crossing for over 12 mins ... for 3 trains... 2 on the same track. Sorry Network Rail .... this simply is not acceptable. Bill Bilton

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  • kpnplanet  |  June 15 2012, 6:03PM

    Something needs to be done to solve the crossings problem. The solution being put forward by NetworkRail isn't great, but at least it is now being seriously discussed. Maybe if the discussion goes on long enough they will eventually invest in a true long-term solution. I'd put forward a much more radical solution. Divert the Newark and Gainsborough lines on to a new alignment to the south of the city centre on a high level running between Western Ave. and Hunt Lea Road. Crossing over Boultham Park Road and Hall Drive it could follow Altham Terrace to South Park and then join the closed Grantham line track bed passing under South Park via the existing road bridge and into Central from the east. Central could them be made a terminus station and ALL the crossing could be closed. Put a through curve in linking the east and west lines and freight wouldn't even need to enter the station. There is already extra capacity available at Central if the unused platform 6 came back into use which would ease potential problems that the extra standing time needed for 'turn-round' at a terminus station. Lincoln isn't a main intercity station so through traffic would not be adversely affected. Massive investment but a solution that would solve all the level crossing problems, infact there'd be no level crossings left in the city, and isnt that what NetworkRail want?

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  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  June 07 2012, 11:08PM

    "If only Lincoln still had its avoiding line..." It doesn't. People live there now. Live with it.

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  • rick29  |  June 07 2012, 7:58PM

    by the time the actually start building it the costs would of increased ten times and then they'll say its to expensive to build.

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  • Stayingalive  |  June 07 2012, 6:59PM

    I can't believe that the people of Lincoln are prepared to accept that they will have to climb stairs or use lifts in order to walk along this section of the High Street. As I understand it pedestrians will have to use this bridge whether the barriers are open or closed. This is bound to reduce the numbers of people using St Marks and the shops south of the crossing. Surely the traders cannot slupport this proposal.

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  • Lincoln_Biker  |  June 07 2012, 4:59PM

    The level crossing "footbridge saga" has been solved by designing a footbridge. How ingenious! If only some bright spark could come up with a way to circumnavigate Lincoln in a car then the Lincoln transport dilema would be solved...

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  • peak3  |  June 07 2012, 4:46PM

    if only lincoln still had its avoiding line, it all boils down to the loss of this rail line & british rail & the lincoln council at the time must have been drunk when they concluded that closure of this line was a good idea, just look at the problems that has caused now its gone & all these extra trains coming through lincoln city north & south would have used it as it was designed to do (avoid going through the city). at the same time lincoln st marks station closed & all trains were diverted in to lincoln central & lots of people were celebrating the loss of one out of two level crossings so close to each other but most of the trains at the time from crewe to lincoln / lincoln crewe terminated at lincoln st marks & diddnt go through the st marks crossing but when st marks closed all the diverted trains in to lincoln central had to go over the hight street level crossing to get to lincoln central station doubling the closure time of that level crossing. sending trains via other line is passing the buck creating problems for others, east & west might be possible from immingham but north & south (peterborough / doncaster) no chance. this is a result of government attitued of the day from the 60s & 70s many options were available before beeching & castle started to shut lincolnshires rail system down & to be honest we are lucky to have what we have. i still think in my previous comments over this matter that it would be a lot better to close lincoln central station & build a new station in the old holmes yard next to the uni fit for the 21st century & treble the carpark size adding a park & ride service & at the same time reinstate the avoiding line where it used to be & connect it with all lines north, south, east & west (it will mean the demolishment of houses regarding reinstatement of the avoiding line) then lincoln high street level crossing (gone) lincoln brayford level crossing (gone) sincil bank level crossing (gone) this will also mean that pelham bridge built to go over the railway in the 50s would become dormant as a flyover because the rail tracks have gone. i have a detailed synopsis & would really like it to happen its good for the railway & passengers get a new station at lincoln it has been crying out for fit for the 21st century, who knows? good idea though but im sure a few billion pounds would sort it out? but once the joint line is put back in to main line status & most rail container traffic comes through lincoln during the day it will be quite a site to see.

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  • M_C_Donald  |  June 07 2012, 2:59PM

    Footbridge solution to rail crossing saga in Lincoln is winning public over..." says Network Rail spokesman, but she would wouldn't she!

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  • BJ_Jan  |  June 07 2012, 1:39PM

    I was one of many people who took the time to stop and speak to the people running the information events. Following the discussion it became abundantly obvious that no other options had been considered by Network Rail for alternative routes for the freight traffic which I personaly consider to be any unneccesary health and Safety risk. Their claim for the reasons is that central governnment had not requested them to do so. Consequently, now is the time for all local people to get in touch with their local MP and insist on them tasking network Rail with investigating alternative routes and not merely giving glib statements that the 'old routes have now been developed and consequently no longer available! IF YOU CARE, GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR MP!

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  • vendetta2011  |  June 07 2012, 1:05PM

    i only go into town once a year if i can help it, too expensive, too congested.

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