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Boldon and Tilesheds level crossings: Full barriers option

Contents 

  1. Overview
  2. Full barriers option
  3. Proposed 'road over rail' bridge option
  4. Give feedback

Full barriers option

In 2012, Network Rail approached South Tyneside Council with regard to road safety concerns at both Tilesheds and Boldon level crossings and highlighted that measures would need to be taken to reduce the road safety risk.

To reduce the risk to the highway and rail users, Network Rail has proposed the option to replace the half barriers with a safer full barrier system. If this went ahead, it would be scheduled for completion in 2024.

The full barriers would improve safety but consequently would take longer to operate, meaning barrier down time would be increased. Road closed times for this type of level crossing as supplied by Network Rail are 21/2  to 3 minutes for a single train and up to twice this amount when a train is approaching the level crossing just as the first has cleared it. The increase in barrier downtime would lead to: 

  • increased congestion for the area
  • the problem of traffic re-routing 
  • increased air pollution

The Traffic Management Act 2004 places a duty on local authorities to make sure traffic moves freely and quickly on their roads, this act was introduced to tackle congestion and disruption on the road network as well as help plan to mitigate for such eventualities in the future, where possible.

Whilst the full barrier system would not remove the risk completely, it would: 

  • significantly improve safety for road and rail users 
  • improve reliability for the services using the line and create the potential for increased capacity / frequency for the rail line in the future

Traffic flow predictions

The predicted impact on the traffic flow from the installation of full barriers can be seen on these videos below and cover different scenarios:

  • Traffic flow with one train (morning peak) video - shows: 
    • Do minimum scenario (full barriers) at morning peak (8am)
    • Traffic queueing at level crossing blocks back beyond roundabout
    • Release of traffic from level crossings causes queuing at junction
    • Excessive queueing impacts on operation of level crossings
    • Queues do not fully dissipate before next train arrives
    • Long queues westbound along Tile Shed Lane
  • Traffic flow with two trains (morning peak) video - shows: 
    • Do minimum scenario (full barriers) with two trains arriving at morning peak (8am)
    • Traffic queuing at level crossing blocks back beyond roundabout
    • Barriers remain down as train is detected in opposite direction
    • Increased downtime results in queueing beyond Boker Lane signals to the south and Galsworthy Road signals to the north
    • Queueing at roundabout impacts on level crossing
    • Queues take time to dissipate
  • Traffic flow with one train (afternoon peak) video - shows: 
    • Do minimum scenario (full barriers) at afternoon peak (5pm)
    • Traffic queued at level crossing blocks back beyond roundabout
    • Queued traffic released from level crossings impacts on performance of adjacent junctions
  • Traffic flow with two trains (afternoon peak) video - shows: 
    • Do minimum scenario (full barriers) with two trains arriving at afternoon peak (5pm)
    • Free-flowing network prior to train arriving
    • Queues quickly build up as level crossing barriers come down
    • Barriers remain down as train is detected in opposite direction
    • Queued traffic at level crossings is impacting on operation of junctions in close proximity to crossings
    • Queued traffic takes time to dissipate

Alternative option

Taking into consideration the safety concerns as well as the potential congestion problems and decrease in air quality that would be expected to arise, South Tyneside Council commenced feasibility work a number of years ago on an alternative option to the full barrier system.


Next page: Proposed 'road over rail' bridge option


 

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