Network Rail has developed a new solution to enhance safety at a West Lothian level crossing following consultation with the local community.
The new proposal, which has met with ORR (Office of Rail Regulation) approval, will see proposals for a road bridge under the railway withdrawn in favour of a solution which uses cutting edge object detection technology combined with a full barrier system.
Network Rail route managing director, David Simpson commented:
“We have been seeking ways of improving safety at Kirknewton level crossing for several years. We developed plans for an underpass at this location, however, it was clear from the response we received from the local community that this was not a popular solution.
“The new proposal will minimise the need for land purchase and prevent the extensive disruption which would have been required to build an underpass in the area. It will also provide greatly improved safety at a far lower cost. The barrier system is expected to present cost savings of several millions of pounds compared with the under-bridge proposal. Funds previously assigned to the project will be reinvested into improving the railway in other locations.
“The biggest risk associated with level crossings is drivers ignoring the warning signals and trying to race across or swerve around barriers before they close. This new system will discourage risk taking and introduce a further level of safety in the event of signals being ignored.”
The new solution uses recently approved technology to detect objects on the line at the level crossing. Using optical remote sensing technology, the crossing is scanned for obstacles on the track. If an object is detected, trains will not be given the signal to proceed. The crossing will also be protected with full barriers as opposed to the existing half barrier arrangement.
The installation of this revised crossing solution can be undertaken without the requirement for compulsory land purchases and, as a result, can be taken forward as quickly as possible. The new crossing solution is expected to be operational by summer 2013.
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