Bloxwich Level Crossing Closure Proposals
Bloxwich level crossing closure proposals
Update March 2013 - Consultation report
Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation. We have collated all of the responses recieved and produced a report analysing all of the data and comparing the results to a traffic model of the area created in 2009.
As per the recommendations of the report we will now work with Network Rail and other stakeholders to formulate more detailed designs and costs for mitigation measures which will then be subject to public consultation.
If you have any comments regarding the report please use the contact details at the bottom of the page.
View the consultation report
Reeves Street Consultation Report (pdf 904KB)
Improvements to the Walsall to Rugeley rail line
The Walsall to Rugeley (Chase Line) rail line runs through Bloxwich, and there are a number of important projects and proposals to improve the lines efficiency. These include:
- Re-signalling the line to increase the number of trains which can use it per hour
- Increasing the line speed from 45mph to 75mph.
- Removing the 20mph speed limit in Bloxwich by closing the level crossing to motor vehicles
- Longer term aim of electrifying the line which will reduce carbon and noise emissions from trains and allow much greater efficiency and more regular services.(Government support announced 16 July 2012, included in Network Rail Strategic Business Plan January 2013)
These improvements will combine to give Walsall the potential capability to have direct services to London, Liverpool and other cities around the country. It will also allow the opportunity for more trains to call at Bloxwich and Bloxwich North stations respectively. These improvements will help to support economic development within the borough, as well as the West Midlands as a whole. Centro (the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority) estimate that future electrification between Walsall and Rugeley will lead to the creation of 1370 new jobs in the West Midlands.
Why close the level crossing?
The above mentioned improvements will allow an increased number of trains to use the line and this will impact on the length of time that the level crossing is open for motorised traffic to cross the line. This will mean that the rail industry may look to close the crossing on safety grounds. The crossing already has a build up of traffic in peak times, with many school children also crossing on bicycles and on foot, as the barriers are down for longer periods it may well become more tempting to circumvent the safety regulations on the crossing. It is because of this that we would like your opinion on a scheme to close the crossing within the next few years (approx 2014/15), and take advantage of funding provided by Network Rail which may not be available in the future.
Closing the level crossing is recommended for the following reasons:
- Level crossings are safety hazards. They are the only points on the rail network where trains, road traffic and pedestrians come into conflict. Closing the crossing would provide a safe crossing place for pedestrians including those accessing local schools and businesses.
- Following the closure of the crossing, cars would be diverted to nearby bridges over the rail line. Network Rail has proposed to fund the strengthening of Central Drive Bridge, as well as local junction improvements and to install a pedestrian foot bridge at Reeves Street level crossing to aid local people when the crossing is closed.
- The Walsall to Rugeley rail line is currently fairly lightly utilised; improvements will increase the use of the line. The Council and residents have no powers to prevent the line being used more, and regional strategies encourage more use of the line for passengers and freight services, as this will reduce congestion on the road network, as well as the air and noise pollution that this produces.
- When the line becomes more heavily used, the level crossing will be closed for longer periods. The local road network already becomes congested when the crossing is closed for a train to pass, with queues quickly forming on surrounding roads during peaks time of the day. Therefore a more permanent solution is needed to prevent this congestion.
- Associated with the electrification of the line, there are future proposals to operate long distance services travelling from Birmingham via Walsall station to the north i.e. Liverpool and Manchester. These plans are vital for economic growth in Walsall borough as it will link Walsall into the national rail network. The level crossing currently causes trains to slow down to 20mph, in order to increase the number of trains and the variety of destinations they travel to this barrier needs to be removed to enable faster journey times.
To take advantage of Network Rail funding the scheme needs to be developed now. Failure to deliver the scheme in the next two to three years may lead to the crossing being closed on safety grounds in the future with no funding guaranteed for mitigation measures.
Therefore the Council and Network Rail are proposing the following mitigation measures:
- Close Reeves Street level crossing to road traffic.
- Provide a DDA compliant crossing at the site to maintain a public pedestrian crossing. This will include a lift or ramps which can be used by cyclists and the mobility impaired.
- Strengthen Central Drive bridge to provide a second crossing point in close proximity to Reeves Street.
- Look to improve surrounding junctions if needed to mitigate displaced traffic.
View the letter sent to residents and businesses around Bloxwich level crossing
Residents & Businesses Letter (pdf 254KB)
View the Bloxwich level crossing questionnaire.
Bloxwich level crossing questionnaire (pdf 124KB)
Transportation Strategy & Policy Manager
Strategic Transportation - Regeneration
Telephone 01922 654358
This page was last updated on 08 April 2013