Brandon crossing to be manned as A11 work continues

A train flashes past the new barriers at the level crossing on Bridge Street in Brandon. Photograph

A train flashes past the new barriers at the level crossing on Bridge Street in Brandon. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

Network Rail have agreed to staff a level crossing during traffic disruption after its attempts to introduce a remote sensor system caused a string of headaches.

The LIDAR obstacle detection system was installed by the rail operators on Brandon High Street last year in an attempt to run the crossing remotely.

But the sensors proved to be too sensitive, causing the barriers to become stuck down for up to an hour at a time.

Patrick McLoughlin, secretary of state for transport, confirmed yesterday that Network Rail had agreed to man the crossing while work on the A11 continues.

He said the operator was working with the Office of Rail Regulation to carry out assessments on all sites where the LIDAR system was installed, with Brandon expected to be one of the first to be looked at.

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'Whilst these assessments will point to an ultimate solution for Brandon and other crossings, in the interim I have received assurances from Network Rail that they intend to position additional resources at the crossing to ensure that workers are on site to reset the crossing if the LIDAR sensor wrongly detects an obstacle, including full staff cover during periods of disruption on the A11,' he said.

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Mr McLoughlin's letter was sent to Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, and Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, after they put pressure on Network Rail to have the level crossing's issues sorted.

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Ms Truss and Mr Hancock had written to Network Rail asking they rectify the problems, with Mr McLoughlin visiting the crossing in August.

Ms Truss said: 'I am extremely pleased that Network Rail are adding additional resources in terms of man power to the crossing.

'The scheduled diversions caused by the A11 road works will place even greater strain on this route so it is vital that it is fit for purpose and the barriers do not fail.'

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