Spalding’s Easter weekend has been marred by disruption as level crossing problems and roadworks brought gridlock to the town’s roads.
More than 40 pedestrians and countless drivers were left stranded in Winsover Road where rail barriers stayed down for several hours on Good Friday.
It is a disgrace that our town should be so disrupted, for so long, with nothing seemingly happeningCoun Richard Fairman, Lincolnshire County Council member for Spalding East
It came just three days after similar problems with level crossings in London Road, Park Road and Woolram Wygate left residents and motorists angry and frustrated, including one woman who was held up for more than two hours.
The disruption, caused by problems with rail signalling systems and points on the track, has led one of Spalding’s county councillors to press for “heavy time penalties” to be imposed on Network Rail.
Coun Richard Fairman, Lincolnshire County Council member for Spalding East, said: “We wouldn’t have had problems with the rail crossings only a few years ago as we had a signalman at every gate.
“But we now have someone in an office who pushes a button which may or may not work.
“Meanwhile, any roadworks should be done throughout the day and night.
“It is a disgrace that our town should be so disrupted, for so long, with nothing seemingly happening and the council should impose heavy time penalties on those responsible.”
Rail bosses have apologised for the level crossing problems that have paralysed Spalding’s roads and left pedestrians stranded over the last week.
Despite a £280 million upgrade of the railway line that runs through Spalding, between Peterborough and Doncaster, barriers have “failed safe” twice and kept level crossings down at four points in the town on Tuesday and Friday,
A woman from The Raceground, Spalding, who was delayed for two and a half hours because of signalling problems at London Road on Tuesday, wrote to our sister newspaper, the Spalding Guardian.
She said: “Whilst sympathising with the numerous people forced to u-turn and find alternative routes, we were virtually held hostage by police guarding the failed barrier.
“Those attempting to escape on foot were threatened with £100 fines and I finally gave up after two-and-a-half hours, with my day and plans totally ruined.”
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We apologise for the disruption in the Spalding area which was caused, firstly on Tuesday, by an ongoing problem with a set of points on the track.
“Then on Friday, we had a signalling problem and the barriers ‘failed safe’ in thinking that a train was there.”
But Network Rail’s apology didn’t satisfy Coun George Aley, South Holland District Council member for Spalding Monkshouse, who said: “As I have stated many times over the past four years or so, I believe the traffic management in Spalding is virtually non-existent.
“It’s time to stop talking and put into action an immediate plan to manage the traffic which I believe can be done with modest expenditure.”
Faulty barriers were down yet again at level crossings in Spalding last week