Rail radar will replace manned Attleborough level crossing

Motorists are set to experience shorter delays around Attleborough rail station after plans were announced to replace the manned level crossing with a radar-controlled system.

Work will begin in December to upgrade the level crossing as part of a resignalling project on the Norwich-Ely line, which will make the town's signal box redundant.

Officials from Network Rail told Attleborough Town Councillors that the scheme will help make the line more reliable, safer, and will help to slightly reduce waiting times at the level crossing.

The new signalling system, which is set to be in operation from June 2012, was welcomed by town councillors at a meeting on Monday.

Paul Burr, senior construction manager at Network Rail, said the works would result in little disruption to drivers or rail passengers, but the line would have to be closed for 27 hours when the new crossing barriers are commissioned.

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The Attleborough crossing is part of a pilot project, which will use obstacle detection technology, that is used at 200 crossing locations in Germany.

Network Rail is looking to replace eight manned crossings on the 52 miles of track between Norwich and Ely. Level crossings at Poplar Farm, Eccles Road, Harling Road, and Spooner Row are also set to be upgraded.

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Mr Burr said that they were looking to hand over the recently listed signal box building to Attleborough Heritage Group.

'We are replacing life-expired signalling equipment and whilst it is relatively reliable, it goes back to Victorian times and it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.'

'You will have a more reliable railway and a safer one and no greater delays to the closure times that you currently experience,' he said.

Vera Dale said she hoped the new system will reduce congestion around the railway station. Fellow councillor Peter Neal added: 'It has got to be an improvement.'

Following the meeting, Cliff Amos, chairman of the Attleborough Heritage Group, said: 'We are at present in discussion with Network Rail with regard to the group's role as potential partners in the future maintenance of the signal box and other key parts of the station complex. This would represent a major undertaking by the Heritage Group and would need to be with the wholehearted support of the community at large.'

Anyone interested in helping the group is asked to contact the Heritage Centre on 01953 455877 or email attleboroughheritage@tiscali.co.uk

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