Bloxwich Level Crossing

Close look order for Bloxwich level crossing

Bloxwich Level Crossing, photo courtesy John M
Bloxwich Level Crossing, photo courtesy John M

 

A Bloxwich level crossing could be closed as part of a plan to create almost 1,400 jobs in the West Midlands through better rail links.

A footbridge could replace the crossing point at Reeves Street with a package of measures to improve adjacent road crossings funded by Network Rail could take shape.

Transport bosses have urged Walsall Council to take an informed decision on the request which has been made by the rail infrastructure operator, Network Rail.

A survey of users has revealed that 40 per cent of users would be unaffected with more than 20 per cent saying closure would result in a drastic impact.

Cllr Tom Ansell, portfolio holder for transport for the Walsall Council coalition, said: “We need to take a very careful look at this. There are economic benefits of the line from Walsall to Rugeley being electrified which could see Walsall connected with direct trains to London.

“Centro research says that electrification of the line will lead to 1,370 new jobs in the West Midlands.

“This could also lead to more local services stopping in Bloxwich and at Bloxwich North rail stations and better inter-city services from Walsall Station.

“However, we do need to very carefully weigh this up against the impact of the closure of the level crossing, which we shall do.”

Walsall Council transport officers are to look at how the proposed level crossing closure could affect residential roads in the area. A report is set to go to the authority’s regeneration scrutiny.

A further report will go to the authority’s cabinet on the advantages and disadvantages of the scheme.

The survey of users was carried out by Walsall Council and gives a snapshot of the views of crossing users.

More than 80 per cent say a footbridge is needed if closure goes ahead and 62 per cent of people said they would use it.

More than 60 per cent would use a strengthened road bridge at Central Drive. 

Network Rail have asked for the level crossing to be closed in order to improve speeds of trains passing through Bloxwich.

At present, speeds for trains are limited to 20 mph going over the level crossing which could be increased and would pave the way for more trains to be routed.

The level crossing could be kept in future but this would see the barriers down for long periods in future to allow for more trains.

The road network already gets busy when the crossing is closed and traffic would have to re-route if it was closed more in future, Walsall Council transport bosses say.

But there are fears if the closure does not take place now the barriers would still be down more in future but without the cash boost from Network Rail to help cope with demand.

Network Rail would also fund a pedestrian crossing at Reeves Street which would be cycle and wheelchair friendly if closure went ahead.

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