MPs call for a manned Brandon level crossing

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

Two MPs have called for a manned crossing to be reinstated at Brandon after a year or lengthy delays for drivers.

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, and Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, are hoping to ease traffic headaches on Brandon's High Street and have written to Network Rail calling on them to replace equipment that was installed last August with a member of staff.

The technology, LIDAR, was installed to detect foreign objects on the track and close the barriers.

However, the sensors on the equipment were too sensitive, causing the barriers to become stuck down on numerous occasions, leaving motorists waiting at the barriers until technicians came to solve the problem.

As a result of the problems, the equipment has been removed, but in a letter to Ms Truss' office, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has instructed Network Rail to replace the equipment.

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Ms Truss said she was pleased ORR and Network Rail were working to solve the issue, saying she was keen to see it resolved as soon as possible.

'The frustration for local residents, not to mention the cost to businesses, is a real concern and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and that is why I am calling on Network Rail to have the crossing manned.

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'After viewing the equipment on site last month, Network Rail told me that the LIDAR was actually being trialled on this particular route and I believe road users crossing through the barriers should not have to have to suffer any more delays,' she said.

Mr Hancock, who is also backing a relief road around Brandon to solve traffic issues, said: 'Putting a man back on the Brandon crossing will save huge amounts of time and also save money. The ORR and Network Rail must work closely to resolve this problem as quickly as possible.

'My constituents aren't concerned about whether the crossing is manned or operates using LIDAR, just that it works properly. That needs to happen, fast.

'People who live in the town and other road users should not have to suffer any more of the delays which I saw for myself last time I was in Brandon.'

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