Work starts to end Spalding rail barrier misery

Traffic build-up at Winsover Road when the barriers were stuck
Traffic build-up at Winsover Road when the barriers were stuck
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Network Rail has begun replacing faulty axle counters along the railway line in the Spalding area – but not before more misery for motorists and pedestrians stuck at barriers.

Barriers were down again at Mill Green in Spalding on Sunday between 5.30am and 11.30am and Blue Gowt and Cherry Holt level crossings in Pinchbeck on Monday afternoon – just as residents were hoping the fault would soon be fixed.

Last month the Spalding Guardian revealed an end to the disruption that has caused months of misery for pedestrians and motorists stuck at railway barriers across South Holland should soon be in sight.

At the time, Network Rail said there have been two recurring faults – one relating to condensation in the axle counters, which detect the presence of a train, and a second relating to signalling output modules, which provide power to the level crossings.

The Great Northern Great Eastern (GNGE) line upgrade, which has seen the removal of signal boxes, was one of Britain’s most technically complex projects of recent years and cost £280million.

However, following numerous barrier failings, 300 counters are being replaced at 37 level crossings, with the ones which have failed on a regular basis taking priority.

This week as work began on the line to Lincoln north of Spalding, the Guardian contacted Network Rail after the latest barrier failings.

Yesterday, a Network Rail spokesperson said: “At 1.18pm on Monday, the barriers at Blue Gowt and Cherry Holt level crossings in Pinchbeck were closed to road traffic due to an axle counter failure.

“When this component fails, the barriers automatically close to keep the public safe. We would like to apologise to anybody impacted by the closure.

“We are currently at the beginning of a programme to replace 300 axle counters at 37 level crossings along the Great Northern Great Eastern line in order to significantly reduce the frequency of axle counter failures in the future.

”It is expected the work will take about two months to complete.”