MP meets with Network Rail and residents to agree action plan for Brandon crossing

Matthew Hancock MP meets Helen Warnock, Network Rail area director, and residents at the level cross

Matthew Hancock MP meets Helen Warnock, Network Rail area director, and residents at the level crossing in Brandon. - Credit: Archant

A town level crossing which has wreaked havoc for drivers for the past four years is set to be improved by the end of 2016.

Matthew Hancock MP met with representatives of Network Rail and frustrated residents at the crossing in High Street, in Brandon on Friday to discuss the disruption it has caused for drivers since new technology was fitted to control its barriers in 2012.

The LIDAR system has failed around 90 times since it was installed, leaving traffic queuing along the main road through the town.

However, Network Rail area director Helen Warnock said adjustments will be made to its sensitivity by the end of the year in a bid to lessen the occurrence of failures.

Mr Hancock said: 'The level crossing at Brandon still causes significant problems in the town. When it breaks, traffic backs up all the way through.

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'We have heard today that it is the worst level crossing of its type in East Anglia.

'We have been promised an action plan from Network Rail to improve the technology and have a commitment that they will do it by the end of the year.

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'I completely understand the frustration of local residents and I will keep working with them until we have finally got this problem solved.'

Ms Warnock said the LIDAR system was fitted at Brandon as part of an upgrade to the signalling systems on the Norwich to Ely line to 'bring technology into safeguarding the railways'.

Its regular failures were due to the detectors' sensitivity, with even dirt on the lens having the ability to cause it to close the barriers.

Protective shutters have been fitted on the detectors at Brandon and several other crossings in the region, which had reduced the number of failures, but Ms Warnock said Network Rail was 'continuing to make improvements', including plans to decrease the sensitivity of the detectors by the end of this year.

'This particular site has had a lot more interest because it intersects with a busy road. When things fail it is disruptive and we realise that, and we are doing our level best to do what we can to mitigate the impact,' she said.

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