105FM :: Local Radio for Redcar & Cleveland

Prospective MP for the Redcar Constituency Cllr Josh Mason and sitting MP Ian Swales MP received good news from Network Rail today in a meeting organised to discuss the inconvenient closures of West Dyke Road level crossing in Redcar during high winds.

Having been contacted by residents and businesses, Cllr Josh Mason and Ian Swales MP launched a petition in December last year calling on action from Network Rail and the council to address the problem which has caused the crossing to be shut for an extended period at least fourteen times in the last year. Thousands of people have signed the petition which was showed to Network Rail in today’s meeting.

Although Network Rail previously stated that the crossing gates could not be renewed until 2018, they have today advised that they are looking to accelerate the work which they now hope will be completed within a year. Environmental constraints have ruled out traditional options for renewal, so Network Rail are now seeking approval for a new, innovative solution.

In the meantime, other measures are underway to reduce the scale and frequency of closure including more intelligent weather monitoring; a new 3D printed inner wheel and an “assisted pusher” to help Network Rail staff open and close the gates in poor weather conditions.

Ian Swales commented: “Josh Mason was right to launch this campaign, closure of the gates causes too much disruption to the town to be closed so regularly.

“Having always lived in Redcar and Cleveland and being a local councillor, Josh knows what issues are important in the area and I’m delighted that progress has been made. This is a great win for residents and local businesses and will make a real difference to the town.”

Cllr Josh Mason commented: “It’s great news that Network Rail have made real headway in making improvements to the crossing and offering a real long-term solution. Ian and I will continue to do what we can to ensure that local businesses and the town can thrive without unnecessary disruptions.”

Mark Tarry, area director for Network Rail, said: "I was happy to apologise in person for the disruption which this level crossing causes to the community in Redcar.  We were able to discuss why it is necessary to close the crossing in high winds and to give my personal assurance that this is only ever done in order to protect the safety of road and rail users.

"During our discussion my team and I were able to explain the many methods and new technologies which Network Rail has tried over the years to improve the performance of this crossing.  We are currently developing another design for the gates which we hope will reduce the need to close the crossing.  This development is being completed as quickly as possible."

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