Brandon: Rail bosses to hear views after signal box causes hold-ups

The new barriers at the level crossing on Bridge Street in Brandon. Photograph Simon Parker

The new barriers at the level crossing on Bridge Street in Brandon. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

TRANSPORT chiefs will meet members of the public and MPs after concerns were raised about a rail crossing which has repeatedly brought a town to a standstill.

Brandon’s signal box, built in 1931, was upgraded last summer as part of a £42million Ely to Norwich resignalling project – but people living in the town have said it has been plagued with problems ever since.

On more than one occasion, the town has been gridlocked for hours due to a failure.

Now, bosses at Network Rail have agreed to meet with members of the community, councillors, South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss and West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock to listen to concerns.

The public meeting is due to be held in Brandon, on Friday, June 7, at 6pm. Brandon station is just inside Ms Truss’s constituency and she said: “I am extremely pleased that Network Rail has agreed to meet with the local community.

“For many months now I have been maintaining the pressure on Network Rail, as the organisation needs to hear first hand the concerns of those living in the area.

“This is a well-used rail crossing with residents, businesses, tourists, as well as the emergency services all relying on it to work efficiently.”

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Mr Hancock, whose constituency includes the town, added: “Brandon already struggles with congestion at times, even when the crossing is working as intended.

“This is one of the main routes between Suffolk and Norfolk and delays cost time and money.

“The twice hourly service from Cambridge to Norwich, which I have pushed for, will be great for Brandon, but it will rely on the crossing working efficiently.”

The news was also welcomed by Brandon town councillor Ian Horner, who has been calling for some time for the problems to be addressed.

As part of last year’s upgrade project between Norwich and Ely, equipment, some of which dated back to the Victorian era, was replaced.

In a letter, Network Rail chief executive David Higgins said: “The recent faults at Brandon have been unrelated to the new system.

“The technical issues are known and those that affect performance or operations have largely been dealt with and the remaining issues will be resolved by September. “

He added: “Reliability will be improved and lessons have been learnt.”

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