Brandon: Progress made on achieving improvements to rail crossing

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Improvements will be made to a railway crossing which has been described as a “chronic sore”.

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock and Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, have received written confirmation from Network Rail that they are working on fixing the level crossing in Brandon.

Faults with the newly-automated crossing have been causing major traffic concerns in the town, which already suffers from severe congestion problems at peak times, and on the approach road.

They hosted a public meeting on June 7 with Network Rail to discuss the issue. Since then Network Rail has written to Mt Hancock and Ms Truss confirming the work they are doing and committing to provide information on progress within two weeks.

Currently Network Rail is awaiting approval from the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), which closely regulates any changes to level crossings.

In the letter Network Rail also confirmed it would offer to fund a replacement bridge across the railway as part of a future relief road for the town, which would mean the level crossing would no longer be needed.

Mr Hancock said: “The crossing at Brandon is a chronic sore that needs urgent attention and a long term solution. I am glad that the public meeting Liz and I hosted has led to urgent work to fix the level crossing’s problems in the short term.

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“This work needs to go ahead as fast as possible and I will be watching the situation closely to ensure it does.

“A relief road for the town is the only long-term solution to the traffic problems though.

“Network Rail’s proposal to fund a bridge to replace the crossing is a big offer and one which needs to be taken seriously. A bridge would be a vital part of the bypass project that the town desperately needs.

“The traffic issues could get worse if we do nothing as there are due to be more trains on the Brandon line in the future, so I’ll be working closely with Network Rail and others involved in the project to keep pushing it forward.”

Ms Truss said: “Network Rail needs to ensure the Brandon rail crossing is fit for purpose. I am concerned that the review of their procedures continues to drag on as this is an issue I have been raising with them for many, many months now.

“The public meeting I hosted with Matt Hancock MP in Brandon earlier this month secured a commitment from Network Rail that work on the crossing would be completed by the autumn.

“I am pleased that funding will be available for a bridge as part of the proposed Brandon by-pass however this is a future project and still under discussion; with the summer holiday season about to commence in earnest plus closures of the A11 creating diversions via the Brandon rail crossing, local residents want to know action will be taken now rather than later to guarantee an efficient rail barrier is in place.”