Businesses and councils in bid to get crossing at Manningtree
Local councils and businesses are to try to see if they can launch a bid to get a new rail crossing built near Manningtree station.
Essex and Suffolk County Councils are working with Tendring and Babergh districts, Network Rail, Greater Anglia and MPs Bernard Jenkin and James Cartlidge to try to ease an increasingly-difficult pinch-point on the A137.
The crossing outside Manningtree station already seems likely to torpedo proposals to build a major new rail depot at Brantham just over River Stour in Suffolk.
The low bridge and the busy level crossing creates a major bottleneck for traffic – and the meeting has resulted in the councils agreeing to work together to try to get finance together for a feasibility study to look at building a new crossing.
However it could be many years before a new crossing could become a reality – it would need to be a major structure, either a bridge or tunnel.
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South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said it was still early days – but felt it was important to look at developing a new crossing to provide access if the former ICI and Wardle Storeys site at Brantham was to reach its full potential.
Tendring deputy leader Carlo Guglielmi said: “The problems associated with this crossing and the nearby junction on the A137 have long been raised by local residents, rail passengers and motorists, and taken on board by elected representatives,” he said.
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“Any solution will require a number of different partners working together, not least several councils, railway and road bodies, and across borders.”
Kevin Bentley, Essex County council deputy leader, added: “To get everybody around the table to discuss this important issue was a great first step, and it is important now that we keep taking steps forward to reach a solution.”
Greater Anglia had hoped to build a new depot to service its new fleet of electric trains at Brantham – but this would have created too many movements over the Manningtree level crossing.
It still hopes to install a wheel lathe on the site to repair trains that develop problems – but it seems certain it will have to look elsewhere to build a new depot for general maintenance and servicing.
Or it could look at extending one of its existing depots at Ilford, Norwich or Clacton.