The rail company repeatedly bringing Spalding traffic to a grinding halt through level crossing barrier failures has snubbed councillors who wanted to pose questions to its top brass.
Spalding Town Forum invited the rail company to its meeting on Thursday but forum chairman Coun George Aley finished up making a sign to stick on the chair where members hoped a Network Rail official would sit.
We could end up being virtually a ‘no go’ town.Coun George Aley
He read parts of a letter from Mark Tarry, managing director of Network Rail LNE and EM routes, in which he said “unfortunately I will be unable to attend your meeting on the 17th” and also apologised for signalling equipment failures – saying there had been rather more than might have been typically expected and the company will try to remedy those as quickly as it can.
But councillors aren’t just concerned about the failures: they’re worried by the number of freight trains and the length of time the barriers are down.
Coun Aley said: “We could end up being virtually a ‘no go’ town.”
Spalding is already losing shoppers, according to Coun Angela Newton, who said people where she lives are going to Bourne because it’s quicker than going to Sainsbury’s in Spalding.
“We don’t want to hear that our money is being spent outside the district,” she said.
Coun Christine Lawton didn’t seem surprised the company had snubbed Spalding and said: “We are a pin prick to Network Rail – that’s all.”
Fellow member Coun Graham Dark said he had waited for ten-15 minutes a long freight train to go through the Hawthorn Bank level crossing.
“You can sit there for ages in Hawthorn Bank,” he said.
The forum agreed to collate members’ questions and put them to Network Rail.