Ashridge Interchange  

The Ship Inn from London Road, with Peach Street to the left

Market Place and Broad Street from Cockpit PathShute End looking northwards, with The Terrace on the right

   "The Ashridge Interchange Movement ('AIM') is a non-party organisation that exists to promote the
   best possible traffic solution for Wokingham for the least overall environmental impact."

                News Items

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 examined together.

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 reality check.

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 improvements.”

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?

Steve Bacon
45 Melrose Gardens
RG2 9PY.

(Click on the following link for the O.R.R. report)


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