Office of Rail
Regulation report on level crossings
Letter to Wokingham Times, published on
7th March 2007:
Two of this week's Wokingham Times news items need to be
The planning application to replace a
commercial site with housing off Molly Millars Lane raises questions about
planning policy, while plans for the Station Link Road need to be given a
On the same day (February 28th), the Office of Rail Regulation published
a report on safety at level crossings, urging their replacement where
possible. It stated:
“Relevant authorities must recognise the wider benefits that safety
improvements at level crossings (for example, replacing them with bridges) can
bring about, particularly for road users. If wider benefits can be achieved, the
appropriate funding bodies should contribute to the cost of safety
Can’t we take this opportunity to replace the Station level crossing with a
bridge, thus permanently solving traffic congestion on Wellington and
Barkham Roads, and removing a dangerous pedestrian short-cut? The existing
link road solution won’t solve the congestion problem; it will only add a lot of
unnecessary traffic lights and complication at the level crossing.
In my view, the Molly Millars Lane area should concentrate on commercial use
while the land adjoining Wokingham Station should be partially changed to take
high-density apartments, in conjunction with a road bridge off Oxford Road.
Apart from this, there’s another reason to plan to replace the level crossing.
A ‘Route Utilisation Strategy’ published last year by Network Rail
recommended that congestion on the Reading-Waterloo line will only be solved
long-term by lengthening trains to 10 or 12 coaches. Although the South West
Trains franchise has gone in a different direction, by removing seats to pack in
more standing passengers, eventually sanity will prevail, and Wokingham
Station’s platforms will have to be lengthened to fit longer trains. The level
crossing will then be doomed. Let’s plan for its removal as soon as possible.
What do other readers think?
45 Melrose Gardens
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