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Network Rail responds to Thatcham bridge developer comments

Rail operator says no funds currently available

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886633

Network Rail responds to Thatcham bridge developer comments

NETWORK Rail has responded to comments made by developers proposing to build a bridge over the railway at Thatcham. 

The Colthrop Village Consortium is proposing construction of up to 950 homes, a primary school, sports facilities and a riverside park south of the railway.

Two bridges, one over the River Kennet into the development from Crookham Hill and another spanning the railway line from the estate into Pipers Way, are also being put forward. 

Speaking at a public exhibition about the scheme, director of planning at JSA Architects Mark Berry said: “All we are saying at the moment is our engineers are saying it will cost around £20m and that Network Rail may be able to provide funding.

“They would save £1m a year for not having a crossing there, so there’s a discussion to be had.”

He added that Network Rail was keen on closing the crossing. 

Calls to have a bridge over the congestion hotspot have been made since the 1970s and a petition was launched two years ago calling on the Government to consider funding the structure. 

But in response to Mr Berry’s comments, a spokesperson for Network Rail said: “We are currently undergoing a national level crossing closure programme, so support any plans for a bridge to be installed so road and rail can be separated.

“Currently we have no funding available for the construction of a bridge in Thatcham and the Department for Transport would have to be approached to see if any government funding is available.”

Network Rail questioned the £1m a year figure and restated that any decisions over funding would have to made by the Department for Transport. 

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Article comments

  • Tricky

    23/09/2018 - 11:11

    Yes the deaths at Ufton Nervet were a tragedy, but the issue could have been solved by replacing the half barriers with full barriers as at Thatcham, which according to network rail are a perfectly safe solution. Money was found for the bridge at Ufton Nervet precisely because it was an emotive location, even though it could never be justifies based on traffic volume. However even though traffic volume and delays to thousands of people justify a bridge at Thatcham, it's just too much hard work for network rail to bother to fix. There's not the emotional component in play. I want to know why when a train heading for Newbury that's stopping at Thatcham before the crossing, they still close the barriers 4 minutes before arrival, and hold while passengers disembark and the train leaves. Do they not trust the driver to correctly stop? Why not close the barriers whilst the passengers are boarding and disembarking saving at least 5 minutes wait each time?

    Reply

  • Justin S

    08/08/2018 - 20:08

    Will never happen. They wont put houses on Lower Way, which is 10% of this rabbit warren. No talk in their proposition for doctors surgery , as I always like to wait weeks for an appointment currently. The bridge at the time off Greenham occupation was the best chance of it happening. There isnt the infrastructure for any construction of this magnitude to make it a sensible proposition. This will always be talked about , even after I am boxed and burnt. Sadly the authorities just brush sensible approaches under the carpet. Must have a huge bulge now as its many years of brushing.

    Reply

  • LeeCripps

    08/08/2018 - 08:08

    Funny how they found funds for Ufton Nervet...

    Reply

    • NoisyNortherner

      08/08/2018 - 09:09

      Ufton Nervet is much simpler in terms of the layout of the crossing. Thatcham would need to span both the canal, as well as the railway line. Then there's the access into the post office depot, assuming the bridge is put where the current crossing is. Putting it through Pipers Lane presents other difficulties as the road infrastructure would need to be significantly upgraded to account for the large increase in traffic.

      Reply

    • NewburyLad

      08/08/2018 - 09:09

      Because people died there and there were many instances of train vs car collisions. How many people have been killed at Thatcham level crossing and how many train/car collisions have occurred there? As far as I can recall, none, because Thatcham is a fully controlled manual level crossing (signals aren't cleared to green until the crossing is securely shut), whilst Ufton Nervet was an automatic half barrier crossing where signals went green once the half barriers were lowered. *THAT* is the reason why they found money to close it - one was inherently dangerous with today's uncaring, selfish and inattentive car drivers around and the other is a perfectly safe crossing, just inconvenient.

      Reply

      • Bombey

        08/08/2018 - 10:10

        people died there because they chose to, not because it was a dangerous crossing...yet the cash to replace the level crossing was found...

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        • NewburyLad

          08/08/2018 - 14:02

          @Bombey - are you really that insensitive and insulting? Driver Stanley Martin did NOT choose to die there, nor did the other 5 passengers and it is offensive to suggest that they did. THAT is why money was found for Ufton Nervet crossing replacement and not found for Thatcham crossing because as I stated originally, there have not been any deaths or crashes at Thatcham crossing.

          Reply