Road at Westerfield open again after completion of work at level crossing

The B1077 at Westerfield has reopened after Network Rail completed rebuilding the rail crossing. Pic

The B1077 at Westerfield has reopened after Network Rail completed rebuilding the rail crossing. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

The busy B1077 has re-opened after seven weeks of work by Network Rail to make Westerfield’s level crossing safer.

Engineers have replaced the half-barriers over the crossing that have been in place since the 1970s with new full barriers, because the number of trains using the crossing has increased substantially.

The work is linked with the project to double the track on the Felixstowe branch in Trimley. Rupert Lown from Network Rail said recent incidents had shown the importance of safety measures.

He said: "The work we are doing will mean that there are 10 extra trains in each direction using that line and the crossing had to be made safer - along with others on the route.

"It is much more difficult for people to try to dodge between full barriers - we saw how dangerous that could be with the incident down the line last year when a driver and his young daughter had a remarkable escape after he drove on to the crossing in front of a train."

The improvements to the Felixstowe line mean the number of containers being moved from the port by rail will increase considerably - each container train can take up to 75 lorries off the A14 and A12.

Mr Lown said most of the new trains would use the cross-country route via Haughley, Ely and Peterborough to the midlands and the north of England, but some might still travel via London.

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He said Network Rail was in talks with rail companies, including Greater Anglia, the government, businesses and local authorities about improving the cross-country link allowing an hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough which is part of the franchise agreement.

Suffolk County Council is being told this week that Network Rail is carrying out a study to see what can be done in the short term to make that possible.

Mr Lown said there were a number of factors that needed to be considered to enable more trains to run on this route - including upgrading level crossings or replacing them with bridges.

He said: "If you bring in more trains meaning crossings are closed much more to drivers then that is an inconvenience and we have to look at what can be done to ease problems - but we do want to find solutions that are good for everyone."

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