Level Crossing Latest News

Latest News

This page has jumped forward nearly 2 years since last being updated!

Network Rail has got to close the Tallington level crossing soon - along with many more between Doncaster and London. This project has nothing to do with our campaigning in the past! We just saw the light earlier than they did - and they are now trying to catch up as the new 140mph trains are being tested in Japan and will arrive in the UK soon!

What happened in between times has been disgraceful but hopefully we can now start to see some end in sight, though few may realise it! The history of how we have got to this point can be seen here.

In early October 2014, Nick Boles MP spoke at the Village Hall meeting with residents, to discuss the two options that Network Rail had put on the table as their final proposals. By the end of the meeting it was apparent that no-one in the village wanted either of them to go ahead. They both went through the village with no opportunity for enhancement at a later date to get a bypass! The two proposals can be seen here.

Nick Boles said he would go away and discuss the matter and come back as soon as possible with his results. As he left he was told by me that there had been a third option proposed by consultants that hadnít been put to the village and that I would give it to him for discussion. That drawing was known about before June and is shown here.

By the Monday morning, October 5th, I had working drawings ready and took them to WSP Consultants at Cambridge who forwarded them to Network Rail, and I sent copies to Nick Boles. These drawings were to be a costing exercise for a minimum contribution from Network Rail to provide an alternative route to allow the level crossing to be closed.

They were not final proposals - they come later once costs are known! The detailed design and its reasoning can be seen here.

This, I believe, will be a 2 stage process. First to get Network Rail to agree to pay for the Northern Bridge and connecting roads, then to allow the landowner to develop areas to raise monies to pay towards the long awaited bypass. Without the first, we canít get the second!

The latest comment from Network Rail was: We are now looking for an acceptable solution that will satisfy our stakeholders (the ORR and the Government) and also the majority of Tallington residents. I am now more hopeful that once the reasoning behing the latest proposals are understood, then the majority of residents will accept it.

At least we have something that is open to improvement later, to look forward to - which neither of the two previous Ďclosedí options gave.

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The information below is kept for posterity so that you may look back (in anger?) at what went on in the past!

ARCHIVE:

Due to various meetings and negotiations that took place between Lincolnshire County Council and Network Rail, this section was not being updated on a regular basis to allow those delicate negotiations to continue. Hopefully they have finally agreed a solution!

Please rest assured that William Webb, the LCC Transport Portfolio holder and John Hayes, the MP for the other side of the tracks ARE working on our behalf to get this problem solved.

Network Rail showed their plans for a proposed solution in June 2012; replacing the level crossing with a bridge, 200 metres to the north. Since then Lincs. County Council have been working with them to design the roads necessary to link the bridge back into the old A16, now A1175 and provide access to the village, side roads and businesses.

Copies of the bridge plans and suggestions for the road plans will be displayed here very soon. Network Railís consultants have almost completed their borehole analysis along the route of the scheme and we are urgently awaiting an announcement of when the public will see the LCC road plans! The Network Rail funding is due to end in March 2014 which is also the date all daytime freight trains will be diverted onto the upgraded Joint Diversionary line from Werrington to Doncaster via Lincoln City centre! Up to 48 passenger trains are then expected to fill the paths available on the East Coast Main Line. This will obviously use all the barrier up times that road vehicles currently use to get across the crossing! The bridge and link roads need to be ready to ensure that the A1175 doesnít just become a long car park for most of the day!

Please return soon to see how things are progressing.......

Updated 8/2/2013 by Ken Otter

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Various dates of note follow...

Tornado, the new steam locomotive went through Tallington on the 7th February 2011. A short ( low resolution) video clip is here

Tornado at speed!

A video clip has recently been posted on YouTube about an ECML Level Crossing barrier fault. The similarity to Tallington is very worrying! More so, as there are NO phones at the crossing to contact the signalbox; just notices giving the contact number.

1st August 2008 - Train derailed at the crossing!

Just before 4.30pm, the regular sleeper freight train pulled out of the Tallington sidings. It got just over the crossing before grinding to a shuddering halt. The three rear bogies of the fully loaded wagons had jumped the points and were buried in the gravel! It took until 6pm to get the front part of the train pulled forward and allow the level crossing to be re-opened; causing chaos for the commuting traffic on the main A16 on a Friday afternoon! The line wasnít cleared until the early hours of Saturday morning causing many delayed journeys!

July 3rd 2008 - Mallard Remembered

It was 70 years ago today, that Mallard retook the World Steam Traction record back from Germany with a speed of 126 miles per hour down Stoke Bank, just North of Tallington. She must have been an awesome sight going across the old crossing then.

A4 Pacific Re-Union! Three of her sister locomotives will travel to York at the weekend for photographs. An excursion to Edinburgh from Kings Cross on Saturday will be headed by Sir Nigel Gresley to York, passing Tallington at 9.16am. Union of South Africa will take over for the northern section. On the return trip on Sunday, Bitterne will take the strain from York to return to Kings Cross, passing Tallington at 7.48pm.

May 5th 2008 RAIL magazine report

Grand Central have requested an extra service from Sunderland to add to their current three and Grand Union, their sister company, have requested six new services a day from Bradford to Kings Cross! All are due to start in December 2008 - giving a further 14 trains a day over Tallington crossing!

April 3rd 2008 Network Rail Strategy Reports

The updated reports on freight routes and capacity requirements in the near future where released on the Network Rail website. They all go to strengthen our need to get a better working relationship between Network Rail and Lincs. C.C. to solve the ongoing problems at Tallington Level Crossing. The problems have NEVER been safety related (which is what the present road-rail partnership seem to have concentrated on), but a Public Nuisance issue and a costly inconvenience to road users!

March 15th 2008 InfraRail Birmingham

The Department for Transportís Rail Systemís Manager, Tim Kendall, gave his departmentís list of requirements for the current license holder ĎNetwork Railí, to achieve in the next working period.There were several areas that it was felt that a far better performance should be possible (and SHOULD have been achieved up to now!) Radical improvements were needed, there was an urgent need to identify opportunities to increase the capacity for passengers and freight - from home to destination (and back!) There WAS a need to eliminate level crossings and he stressed - IF IN DOUBT - Find a simple way through it!

Discussions afterwards on the DfT stand helped to show them there was at least one solution to the Tallington Level Crossing problem and that consideration should be given to an early meeting with Lincolshire County Council to resolve it. Discussions are ongoing!

March 14th 2008 InfraRail - NFG AGM

At the National Freight Groupís AGM, the Managing Director of Hutchinsonís who run the East Coast Ports in Felixstowe and Harwich, gave his presentation on the need for expanding the availability of freight routes on the national rail network. When questioned for specific increase on the ECML north of Peterborough, he confirmed the need for at least 7 more slots AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and certainly before 2016 to alleviate the need to send the containers by road. This will obviously equate to a further 14 trains over this crossing DAILY

March 13th 2008 Tallington Parish Council

The long awaited report from the Level Crossing Working Party once again failed to arrive! However, a letter from Councillor John Allen was passed round for an immediate decision requested to permit it being sent to William Webb, the Lincs. County Councillor dealing with the crossing. All attempts at a discussion and validation of the contents of it were deemed unnecessary and it was sent after a vote (with my abstention). The problem with the letter being that there is an implicit acceptance in it that a feasibility study being requested by a developer may help to get a solution to the problem of the crossing. As the working party havenít reported and the Parish Council havenít debated the subject or considered the consequences of having 2500 houses built here, I do think that this letter was more than a little premature.

March 2nd 2008 Grand Central Train Timetable increase

The two extra trains joined the timetable (at last). After a year or soís delay, the full service from the North West to London is now available - increasing the number of passenger train crossings per day by 6

February 29th 2008 Network Rail ECML RUS

Richard Thompson, Network Rail (York), published the ECML Route Utilisation Strategy on the Internet. It clearly shows how, in the long term, the increase in passenger demand will be catered for - redesigned ICE trains carrying more passengers in the same length trains, and a small increase in the numbers of passenger trains due to the perceived lack of platform capacity at Kings Cross. However, the freight demand was clearly shown as ever increasing. The delays at Tallington Junction are shown on their lost minutes graph and there is a pressing need for gauge enhancements to cater for the new larger containers on standard rail wagons. Road and pedestrian bridges will need to be raised, initially on the cross-country Peterborough/Nuneaton route but then Northwards. (The Lincoln - Werrington line has been improved and is available as a diversionary route BUT it is certainly not a Ďpreferredí route especially for long heavy freight through the city of Lincoln! I am sure their motorists are as frustrated as we are with the trains NOW!)

January 14th 2008 Deepings Local Area Forum

The meeting took place in Tallington Village Hall at 7pm.
This is the report regarding the Tallington Rail Crossing. A full transcript of the minutes is available here.

Mr Ken Otter of Tallington Parish Council gave a presentation on the issue of the rail crossing at Tallington. The views he expressed were not necessarily those of the parish council.
Mr Otter referred to the regional position and capacity issues on the East Coast Main Line. GNER had increased the number of trains using the route and National Express East Coast were promising yet more trains. In recent years Hull Trains had been formed and now Grand Central would be running trains through the area. With the opening of St Pancras International it was possible that Eurostar services would use the route. Freight traffic passed through the area on its way between Felixstowe and the Midlands and this was ever increasing. All of this increased rail traffic meant that Tallington crossing was closed for longer and longer periods, especially during peak hours. As a result delays were getting longer with consequent costs to everyone.
There were a number of possible solutions including the building of a bypass or a bridge over the East Coast Main Line. A bridge could be funded by Network Rail. However Network Rail had stated that the crossing was safe and from their point of view worked well, if there was a road traffic issue this was not Network Railís problem but the County Council as Highways Authority. There were other congested rail crossings in the county such as Lincoln High Street.
Brian Thompson of Lincolnshire County Council stated that the highest priority scheme in the County was for a Lincoln Eastern bypass, but this had not attracted any Government funding. Then there were a further 7 schemes including Boston, Skegness and Sleaford, then a further 18 schemes of which Tallington was one. It was therefore unlikely that a Tallington bypass would be constructed in the foreseeable future. No other development work would take place unless there was a major change in funding arrangements. 
One of the problems was the trip workings and associated shunt movements in and out of the Dowmac yard, it was suggested that these could take place at night. Mr Thompson said he would raise this with Network Rail.
It was noted that any large scale development would alter the character of the village and this should be treated with care, especially in respect of listed buildings. It was asked whether a bridge or bypass proposal would be subject to a public inquiry and it was AGREED that planning policy issues would be an agenda item for the next meeting.
Mr Thompson confirmed that there would be full public consultation on any large scale proposal and that it probably would be the subject of a local inquiry. Mr Waterhouse observed that any bridge or tunnel would be unrealistic in view of the number of listed buildings and the cramped nature of the site. In respect of any bridge, this would have to be very high because of the overhead electric wires on the railway lines.  Mr Otter referred to the recent construction of the Oakham bypass and the bridge over the (non electrified) railway line there.
The Forum thanked Mr Otter for his presentation. The Forum AGREED to revisit this issue at a future meeting.

December 11th 2007 - Stamford Town Council

I spoke about the bypass and the pending meeting in Tallington in January during the public session at the Town Council and received an assurance that the matter would be discussed later. As the date of their meeting clashed with the date of the Deepings Local Area Forum meeting on January 14th 2008, the Mayor took a show of hands from councillors to support the proposal that a bypass at Tallington would be beneficial to Stamford. A letter will be sent to SKDC in due course

December 10th 2007 - New Trains and New Train Operators!

At long last, Grand Central have managed to run a passenger service from Sunderland to London - just one a day from December 10th until the New Year when the full service of 3 trains a day starts - another 6 trains a day over the crossing!

 National Express have taken over the GNER services and have started repainting the rolling stock silver instead of GNER's dark blue. The bad news is that they expect to start an enhanced service soon with even more trains on the ECML!

September 28th 2007 - Stamford Mercury Article
Life of Brian - Brian Martin takes a wry look at life

Life on the Costa del Tallington
For a wonderful relaxing holiday I can thoroughly recommend Tallington level crossing. I spent some time there recently, as did many other happy motorists, stuck in a traffic queue which seemed to extend to Moscow and back while the gates stayed shut. We got quite a tan, so I've started work on the holiday brochure. Attractions include a while-u-wait dinner at the crossing pub - leaving your car in the queue and returning to it later - scenic water-colour classes and a collective I-Spy, with the first prize a special opening of the barriers to let you out. Picture postcards from the adjacent service station could be sent to colleagues who thought you had died en route. There'd be plenty of time to write, stamp and post them. Perhaps someone could build a bridge, underpass or diversion for road traffic when they have got a spare moment. Failing that, resurrect Dr Beeching to re-route the track. Or bypass the whole area by running the Stamford-Deepings highway through Corby.

 

September 11th 2007 Parish Council meeting

The long awaited Working Party report on recommendations for the Parish Council to consider was once again put off! Over 18months and nothing but 'a report may be available in the next 4 months!' Neither the Stamford Southern Bypass group or the Tallington 2006 proposer have been approached for their input which is what should have happened IF the working party's terms of reference were complied with. Certainly it would seem that the villagers of Tallington are being kept in the dark by Councillor(s) that were elected to represent them! Vague references to '1200-2000 houses being reduced to 50 locally' to help pay for the bypass does nothing to instill confidence in the democratic process. The 'working party' obviously isn't doing its job for 'our' benefit.

September 2007 - 6 Grand Central trains expected on-line!

The Grand Central service Sunderland - London supposed to start on the 7th September with 6 extra trains a day!

June 2007 - More talk at the Local Area Assembly!

There was a discussion of options at the West Deeping meeting of the South Lincs Local Area Assembly. Once again the Deepings Group pushed their agenda but more worryingly announced SKDC's involvement in a feasibility study! The only way SKDC can help is via what are called 106 agreements or planning gain! Are we now going to get 100's more houses in Tallington just because the Deeping Group haven't got a clue on how to push this problem along? Over 7 years and still no concrete proposal for a route that we can all see!

May 2007 - More GNER trains now on-line!

The GNER half hour service from Leeds - London started on the 17th May with 12 extra trains a day!

April 2007 - Grand Central trains delayed!

Due to various problems, all of the HST engines and coaches will not now be ready for the launch of the service in early May as promised. Late May or early June now seems a more realistic timescale.

23/3/2007 The Deepings Standard

The Deepings Group have put their case before the SKDC economic development & scrutiny panel in the hope of getting more local (district) support for their case. SKDC Cllr. Mike Exton said 'The scrutiny panel was sympathetic and supportive of the action group's calls for some kind of bypass or public bridge' (Whatever that means) LCC Executive Member for Highways and Transport, Cllr. William Webb, has agreed to mark the matter as high priority and wants to reach a multi-agency solution with SKDC and Network Rail. He understood the situation was likely to get worse at Tallington before it gets better. The difficulty he had was a lack of funding which is why he was looking to Network Rail and SKDC to help. Editor's comment: Building more houses here just to get planning gain to build a bridge seems a longwinded approach rather than getting EMDA and Network Rail to pay for an improvement to the ECML infrastructure. It is Network Rail who are causing the Public Nuisance - they have removed all crossings south of Crewe on the WCML; now it isTallington's turn!

24/2/2007: GNER gets all 9 new slots for its Leeds service starting 17th May
Grand Central confirms its 3 new Sunderland trains start early May!

In late November, the Parish Council circulated a letter to all villagers giving the terms of reference for their sub-committee. It is supposed to consider all options for a solution to this problem, but they have decided to ignore the urgency of the situation and have gone for the long term approach. I hope they can justify their lack of concern for the school children and businesses they are affecting with their head in the sand attitude!

Ken Otter, who prepared the 2006 proposal says: I will continue to promote my 'level crossing enhancement' proposal until I either achieve it or even I have to admit defeat! All of my papers are with the East Midlands Development agency in Nottingham, as I was told by the Under-secretary of State for Transport that they are the only ones who can bring the relevant parties, Lincs. CC and Network Rail, together to discuss a solution.

The traffic problems WILL get worse after April 2007 due to increases in rail traffic, especially at peak times, but at least 'they' now know! Unfortunately, those that suffer this appalling indecision the most, are the busloads of schoolchildren trying to get to and from Stamford schools!

East Midlands Development Agency 29/9/2006

I asked at EMDA's Annual Public Meeting if they were capable of acting quickly to changing events (such as the increase in rail traffic on the East Coast Main Line causing 45 minute delays now on the A16 with more trains scheduled in December and April) or were they just a think tank? The chairman promised the issue would be investigated by Steven Harley, the Transport and Infrastructure manager. 580 representatives from the East Midlands attended the meeting - many from Lincolnshire; including the County Council, Stamford schools and SKDC. Steven Harley did talk to me afterwards and is formulating a review of the situation and discussing it with other relevant bodies such as the Lincolnshire & Welland Sub-regional Strategic Partnerships.

Stop Press! First the good news!

Grand Central secures rolling stock and confirms revised launch date for services in May 2007.
Grand Central has completed a condition survey of the rolling stock it is purchasing for the launch of its high speed train services between Sunderland and London. The selected rolling stock will be entering works in early December, where it will undergo a comprehensive £5 million refurbishment programme, to ensure it is available for use in May 2007. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to finalise an arrangement for sub-leasing of stock, which would have allowed services to start on 10 December, as originally planned. Services will now start on 20 May 2007 (or is it the 10th?).

Managing Director Ian Yeowart states: "Whilst it is disappointing to delay the launch of our services, we are now in a situation where we will own our own fleet of fully-refurbished High Speed Trains, and be able to offer customers the highest standards of service and comfort at highly competitive fares." Grand Central has also worked closely with Network Rail and GNER to minimise the impact of contractual changes to its previously announced train times. This has resulted in an improved arrival time in London of 10.31 for its first weekday service from Sunderland.

Now the bad!

David Allen, a member of the previous Tallington Steering Group (now the Deeping Group!) looking at the level crossing problems since 1999, is now trying to resurrect his own version of a plan for the railway crossings in the area and is taking it around the various Parish Councils for support. Unfortunately, all of that group's safety arguments were dismissed by the Strategic Rail Authority and the Health and Safety Executive a long while ago. He now seems to think that he can use my recent proposals to reinvigorate his attempt to close Lolham Crossing and stop traffic going past his house in West Deeping! This will have a disastrous effect on increasing time scales and costs for any Tallington solution. Peterborough City Council are already looking at the West Deeping problem and working with Lincs County Council to dual the rest of the A15 from Market Deeping into Werrington. David Allen's own agenda should NOT be allowed to delay the problems here in Tallington. We need a locally based campaign to look after the needs of everyone in South Lincolnshire NOT just one property in West Deeping!

The local and national media are now well aware of the problems here and their reports are below:
(Note how the cost increases from £13 million to £20 million!)

BBC Midlands Evening News 3/10/2006

Waiting, waiting, waiting!

A local news item was broadcast from Tallington Crossing highlighting our plight since 1933!

David Allen (of West Deeping) and Brian Thompson (LCC) were interviewed and put the case for Network Rail and Lincs.C.C. to get together and sort out a bridge and bypass for Tallington. David's case was that a bypass was agreed in 1955, had been annulled in 1997 and should now go back on the 5 year list for consideration. Brian Thompson said the cost would be £18 million and would need Network Rail involvement as there were other problems in Lincoln, Grantham and Boston to consider as the A16 wasn't in their current 5 year plan.

A short transcript and video is on the BBC News website.

BBC National News AND BBC Radio 4 Today's Programme 4/10/2006

The Crossing from Hell!

A national news item was broadcast from Tallington Crossing highlighting the problems! David Allen (of West Deeping) and Brian Thompson (LCC) were interviewed and David put the case for Network Rail and Lincs.C.C. to get together and sort out a bridge and bypass for Tallington as Network Rail were causing a Public Nuisance and both schoolchildren and businesses were being badly affected. Brian Thompson said the cost would be £19 million and there were other priorities in Lincoln, Grantham and Boston to consider. He said the A16 had only recently become LCC's responsibility after being de-trunked in 2001 and their funding was already allocated.

Emails from listeners are available on the BBC News website

Yorkshire Television 4/10/2006

A regional news item was recorded from Tallington Crossing highlighting our plight! Ken Otter (Tallington) and David Allen (of West Deeping) were interviewed and Ken put the case for Network Rail and Lincs. C.C. to get together and sort out a bridge and link roads NOW for Tallington as Network Rail were causing a Public Nuisance and both schoolchildren and businesses were being badly affected. David showed his figures proved the 46 minute delays currently and how the new trains scheduled would cause a much greater inconvenience to the local community even if a bypass was considered now to be included in the 5 year plan.

Anglia Television 5/10/2006

The regional news item recorded by Yorkshire TV yesterday was transmitted on Anglia West at lunchtime. Brian Thompson sympathised with the plight of road users at Tallington but said the cost would be £20 million and there were other priorities in Lincoln, Grantham and Boston to consider.

BBC Radio Lincolnshire 5/10/2006

A local radio news item was recorded by them with Ken Otter (Tallington) putting the case for a 'level crossing enhancement' and David Allen (West Deeping) making the case for a bypass.

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 5/10/2006

Drivers 'risking lives' on nuisance crossing

A half page spread was printed highlighting the problems on the crossing and taking local peoples views into account. Quotes from Brian Thompson LCC, Cllr. Trollope-Bellew and National Rail's Ben Harbert

Yorkshire TV Lunchtime News 6/10/2006

This was the regional news item recorded from Tallington Crossing highlighting our plight on the 4/10/2006! Ken Otter (Tallington) and David Allen (of West Deeping) were interviewed and Ken put the case for Network Rail and Lincs. C.C. to get together and sort out a bridge and link roads NOW for Tallington as Network Rail were causing a Public Nuisance and both schoolchildren and businesses were being badly affected. David showed his figures proved the 46 minute delays currently and how the new trains scheduled would cause a much greater inconvenience to the local community even if a bypass was considered now to be included in the 5 year plan.

Stamford Mercury 6/10/2006

A small paragraph highlighted the media coverage this week and asked Ken Otter what he thought of it.

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 6/10/2006

A quarter page spread was printed with readers' responses and comments about the problems on the crossing.

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 9/10/2006

A quarter page spread was printed with readers' responses and comments about the problems on the crossing.

Stamford Mercury 13/10/2006

A half page spread with David Allen giving his story on the crossing with several good quotes from locals and motorists. Rather disturbingly, David was pushing for a Lolham crossing solution which would mean a southern route which has long since been dismissed as too expensive as it crosses a flood plain. Brian Thompson gave his usual responses but did admit that the crossing WAS a big problem.

Stamford Mercury 20/10/2006

Letters from readers giving different views on the crossing.

Stamford Mercury 27/10/2006

Letter from a reader giving a different view regarding rat-running around the crossing.

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