The Anonymous Widower

Level Crossing Trouble On The Northumberland Line

There is an article on Chronicle Live, which is entitled Exodus Fears Over Northumberland Line Underpass Plans For Ashington.

There is also this sub-heading.

Opponents of a planned underpass in Ashington as part of work on the Northumberland Line rail project are being urged to have their say.

So what are some people protesting about?

This page on the ABC Railway Guide is entitled Hospital Crossing Level Crossing and gives details of the level crossing, that Network Rail want to replace with an underpass.

  • The crossing is a public footpath crossing with whistleboards.
  • Individual and collective risk rating is high.
  • It is used by 110 pedestrians and cyclists per day.
  • There don’t seem to have been many recent incidents.

I know of a similar crossing in a similar town to Ashington, where there have been several deaths and suicides.

As the Northumberland Line is likely to have a half-hourly service, which will mean four trains per hour (tph) over the crossing, I doubt any Health and Safety professional would sign off the Northumberland Line without separation of the trains from pedestrians and cyclists.

Admittedly, the main complaint of the residents is noise and drunken pedestrians, but aren’t the latter most likely to be run over by a train.

There is also suggestions that the crossing be moved further to the North.

This Google Map shows the crossing.

Note how the crossing zig-zags across the railway.

This second Google Map shows a 3D visualisation from the East.

The proposed underpass would appear to connect Roseneath Court in the bottom-left and Darnley Road in the top-right.

  • It does appear that the current route goes behind houses on both sides of the railway.
  • I would suspect that underpasses could be built in line with both Roseneath Court and Darnley Road.
  • But either route would mean that the noisy and the drunks would walk further in a parallel direction to the railway and would create more disturbance.

This level crossing argument will run and run, as many do.

The Effect Of Battery-Electric Trains

I think it is likely that services on this line could be run by battery-electric trains.

These trains could be new trains from CAF, Hitachi or Vivarail or modern electrical multiple units, that have been upgraded with batteries.

  • They would be capable of 100 mph or more on the East Coast Main Line.
  • They would run on battery power at an appropriate speed of perhaps 80 mph  on the Northumberland Line, which is not planned to be electrified.
  • I suspect the passenger trains will cruise up and down the Northumberland Line faster than the current freigtht trains.
  • On battery power with no overhead wires, they will be very quiet trains.

Paradoxically, these new trains, although much better for passengers, could be more dangerous for the users of level crossings because of their faster speed and lower noise.


October 5, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , ,

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