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Author Topic: Network Rail plan to close Tan Hill crossing and replace it with a footbridge  (Read 6628 times)
stuving
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« on: July 10, 2014, 08:20:27 pm »

From getwokingham
Quote
Decision to close dangerous level crossing has been deferred
Jun 26, 2014 10:24 By Laura Miller

Network rail plans to close Tan Hill level crossing and replace it with a footbridge because it has a "high risk of accident"


Tan Hill level crossing in Wokingham which could be replaced by a footbridge

Plans to replace a dangerous level crossing with a footbridge have been deferred.

Wokingham Borough Council's planning committee were last night due to consider Network Rail's plans close Tan Hill level crossing and replace it with a footbridge.

The level crossing, which forms part of a footpath, is across the London Waterloo to Reading train line, close to where it and the Guildford line fork behind Wokingham Superbowl.
...
The rail company said the crossing carries a ^high risk of accident^ as trains can reach speeds of up to 70mph in both directions and a curve in the double track section can make sighting trains difficult, along with sun glare.

In in 2012 there was a near miss on the crossing.

The plans are now expected to be considered by the committee next month.
(That next meeting will be on July 23rd.)

This links to a more detailed previous article:

Quote
...
A survey last year revealed 80 to 90 people use the crossing on weekdays which increases to an average of 105 during the weekends.

The survey also found unauthorised use and trespass and criminal activity and a ^significant number^ of unaccompanied children using the crossing.

New train station could be added to Montague Park housing development

Safety fears were raised with Network Rail stating ^the highest risk to the public is a fatality occurring^.

In in 2012 there was a near miss on the crossing.

A report into the proposal said: ^Therefore Network Rail believes the replacement bridge is the only safe solution.^

The ^700,000 plans also include moving the footpath leading to the crossing around 56 metres via a stepped footbridge on both sides of the track.

Wokingham Town Council said it agrees to ^support the proposal but requests that consideration be given to meeting the aims of the Greenways project by ensuring the bridge is designed to be suitable for use by cyclists. An ideal solution would be a single bridge across both railway lines^.

Network Rail said ^may be in the future the situation is reviewed^ however this would not be until the current stepped bridge over the nearby Guildford railway line is up for renewal, and that is ^not scheduled in the foreseeable future^.

Network Rail has included a cycle gutter in the project, which means cyclists can also use the bridge.

Nationally Network Rail is spending ^130m to improve safety and reduce risk where a public highway meet a railway.

The plans are recommended for approval at tonight^s Wokingham Borough Council planning meeting at Shute End at 7pm.

The application by NR» (Network Rail - home page) is for a Footpath Diversion, specifically for a Railway Crossing Diversion Order under s.119a of the Highways Act 1980.

The briefing for the planning committee is here.

At this stage this is not an application for planning permission, though any new bridge will require such an application.

A few of points about this crossing:
  • It puzzles a lot of people - why would you have a bridge across the (unelectric and usually less busy) line to Guildford, and a footpath crossing over the 3rd-rail electric line to Ascot?
  • The speed of 70 mph is in the briefing, apparently from NR themselves. However, there is a 30 mph restriction through the station starting right next to it - and almost all trains stop anyway, so actual line speeds may be below even that limit.
  • I've added some pictures. The main approach from the town side - the important side for its staggering-home-after-a-night-out users, who are one of the main high-risk groups - has an old wicket gate and some new fencing to discourage wandering off beside the track. The view from this side, the inside of the curve, along the track is not good. And note the proximity of the speed sign.
  • The map in the council briefing has the word "Subway" next to this crossing. I imagine this comes from the underlying large-scale OS (Ordnance Survey) map. That's weird.
  • The name "Tan Hill" is not one I've come across before - it probably applies only to the crossing. The path would have been a very minor lane direct to the old Tan House on the Emm brook.

The only thing about this that seems to be at all controversial is the proposal to provide only steps, with a "cycle gutter", rather than a ramped bridge for cyclists and to meet section 149 of the Equalities Act 2010. NR's view is that the footbridge has steps only, and is not due for replacement in the foreseeable future. I'm not sure how old it is - it is not on the 1933 OS map, but looks older. Mind you, reinforced concrete always looks old as soon as it starts getting a bit tatty.

They also say that the ramps would need to be 400-500 m long, which sound excessive. Are they counting both ramps in this total length of "the structure"? Even if they are, and the rise needs to be 10 m (it doesn't - it would be closer to 7), that's 1 in 20-25. Does that mean that a road bridge can't be steeper than that because its footpaths would not meet the EA?

As it is, you will now have two bridges - so you not only have to climb up and then down, but between the two lines you will have to go down to ground level and back up. A span to link the bridges would be about the same length as the stairs down. I know exercise is good for you, but still...

Once upon a time, they were going to replace this with ... a road bridge over both lines, to allow the other level crossings to be closed. That plan (the IDR) was abandoned over 20 years ago, but this small part of it still has some merit.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 10:22:13 am by stuving » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2014, 08:30:41 pm »

Perhaps looking at something like this?

http://www.harrisons-engineering.co.uk/projects/prestatyn-station-footbridge-ramps-stairs-lift-shaft/

As a business, we have been through "legally level" requirements - I forget now but it was indeed something like 1 in 25
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bobm
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 09:54:02 am »

From Get Reading

Quote


The Tan Hill Level Crossing in Wokingham is to close
 

A dangerous level crossing will be replaced with a footbridge in a bid to improve safety measures.

Tan Hill level crossing, which forms part of a footpath, is across the London Waterloo to Reading train line, close to where it and the Guildford line fork behind Wokingham Superbowl.

However, members of Wokingham Borough Council's planning committee agreed on Wednesday, August 20 to allow Network Rail to close the crossing.

Trains passing the crossing can reach speeds of up to 70mph in both directions and a curve in the double track section can make sighting trains difficult, along with sun glare.

A survey last year revealed 80 to 90 people use the crossing on weekdays which increases to an average of 105 during the weekends.

Safety fears were raised with Network Rail stating ^the highest risk to the public is a fatality occurring^.

In in 2012 there was a near miss on the crossing.

The survey also found unauthorised use and trespass and criminal activity and a ^significant number^ of unaccompanied children using the crossing.

The footbridge will include a cycle gutter in the project, which means cyclists can also use the bridge.
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stuving
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2016, 10:29:03 pm »

A couple of weeks ago I was coming along Wellington Road and spotted some scaffolding down behind the new (cricket cub) houses. So today I went to have a look. The footpath is closed off by barriers, but someone has pushed them aside so it was easy to get onto the existing bridge to see what's what.

And it's ... scaffolding. First I wondered how you'd build a bridge with the scaffolding in the way, then I though it looked more like a bridge for public use.

Looking in the WBC planning files, there is an application (numbered, oddly, 160497) for this temporary bridge, with drawings and calculations. It only went in on 22nd Feb, for comment until 8 March (there were none), and has not been decided. Network Rail make the usual point about this being permitted development (under the 1853 Staines, Wokingham, & Woking Railway Act), and are only asking for prior approval which "cannot be refused unless you are satisfied that the development ought to be and could reasonably be carried out elsewhere on the land, or the design or external appearance would injure the amenity of the neighbourhood and is reasonably capable of modification so as to avoid such injury".

The letter of application finished with "To confirm that you accept the proposed development under Part 18, Schedule 2 of the GDPO, please kindly issue a decision notice or letter stating that ^prior approval^ has been granted for our records in accordance with statutory timescales." That's brusque, and looks tactless too given that they started immediately. Putting 'prior approval' between inverted commas doesn't really make up for it.

So what's going on? There's some pictures of the site and a bridge, in which it says that "There are plans to install a new over span in 5 years to access the new facilities being built on the adjacent land." Of course! It's next to the Carnival pool bit of the Town Centre Regeneration Project, for which WBC's left left hand gave approval to its right hand at the outline stage last July (application O/2015/1056, including full approval for the new car park). And in the D&A statement for that there is indeed a pedestrian access across the track at a new angle to lead into the regeneration site, and in one sketch it's a "possible new pedestrian bridge".

So it looks more as if NR» (Network Rail - home page) are doing what WBC asked them to do.
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stuving
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2022, 06:47:56 pm »

I've heard nothing about that plan to run a long bridge from the new leisure centre via the car park, both of which have now been built and opened. I wonder if the council has a plan or not? Because on 22nd November NR» (Network Rail - home page) put in a planning application to WBC (number 223493) for a new bridge of their own, just on railway land, to replace the old bridge and temporary scaffolding one.

This work is all claimed as general permitted development, of course. It  needs three spans of one of their standard bridge designs, and makes no attempt to upgrade the crossing to be step free. After all, it (the one over the Guildford line) never was, and getting to it means walking the length of a muddy football pitch.

But the consultation (which ended yesterday) has seen 34 comments (though some are revisions) all, so far as I can see, castigating NR for ever thinking a stepped bridge could be acceptable. This was prompted by letters to the local paper, some from local councillors - who also put in some of the comments. I do wonder if our Lib Dems have got the hang of being the majority yet - don't they (as the executive) have a more direct way to engage with applicants?

I wonder what NR will say next? My guess is: "If you want to build a full-scale cycle plus pedestrian route (segregated, of course) across here, I'm sure we'll be able help you with the bridge part of it. Just don't expect to get one for free when we are just completing our crossing closure and replacing an old concrete bridge that's about to fall down."
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stuving
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2023, 10:59:04 am »

Well, either it finally dawned on our councillors that they can't reasonably demand that Network Rail build a bridge to retain a non-existent step-free path - and on land they don't own - or else they knew all along but were just posturing. And in any case, given the very limited powers for a planning authority to refuse an application for permitted development, it was approved last week. The give-away is in Wokingham Today's text:
Quote
If the council can obtain land, funding and planning by August, Network Rail will be able to install ramps to make the bridge more accessible.

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