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Spalding rail barrier blues as drivers are stuck in big traffic queues

Drivers were suffering level crossing barrier blues as Spalding had double trouble last week.

Surfleet man Keith Rose (79) was one of the drivers stuck in a queue on Tuesday as the Woolram Wygate barrier stayed down after a freight train had passed through.

On Wednesday teatime the whole town was gridlocked for around 15 minutes as three long freight trains passed through, one after another.

Woolram Wygate level crossing
Woolram Wygate level crossing

Mr Rose arrived at the barrier at about 2.15pm/2.20pm and abandoned the attempt to go over the crossing at about 2.55pm. He turned back as far as Pinchbeck and then went on a circuitous route to reach a computer shop on the far side of the crossing.

He said: “I was out of the house for over two hours just to get to the computer shop on Woolram Wygate and back.”

The round trip normally takes around 20 minutes.

Mr Rose believes Spalding infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with the population increase, and traffic congestion can only get worse if nothing is done.

Wednesday saw much of the town gridlocked as level crossing barriers on Hawthorn Bank, Winsover Road, and Woolram Wygate stayed down.

One driver reported being stuck in Victoria Street car park, saying it took him around 15 minutes to reach Station Street.

Another watched from Hawthorn Bank, counting through three long freight trains, as she was on her way to a play at Tolethorpe Hall.

“It took about 17 minutes for the trains to pass,” she said.

One driver caught up in Tuesday’s mayhem told us: “Traffic was chock-a-block everywhere.”

Another driver caughtout by the Woolram Wygate barrier on Tuesday said: “After sitting in the queue on Pinchbeck Road for almost half-an-hour I gave up.”

We asked on Facebook how people had been affected and one reader said: “Probably better for people to let you know when they ARE working properly - would be more of a story.”

Another said: “You wait five- to 10-mins for a couple of passenger trains to pass and there are only a couple of passengers on each train - and folks want to increase the number of trains running. There is hardly anyone using them.”

A Nework Rail spokesman said: “There was no level crossing failure at Mill Green level crossing in Spalding. A member of the public reported a fault to our helpline, however they were incorrect and there was no fault.

“Network Rail workers visited the site to investigate and everything was working normally.

“However, the member of the public did the right thing in terms of reporting their concerns to us and we would encourage anyone who has any concerns about the railway to call us on 03457114141.

“In terms of the freight trains, yes, they would have been diverted. This was due to problemswith overhead line equipment on the East Coast Main Line between Grantham and Peterborough.”

• What do you think? Email your letters to our editor: jeremy.ransome@iliffepublishing.co.uk

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