Breakdowns of level-crossing are now ‘unacceptable’

The unreliable level-crossing at St Albans Road, Bulwell.
The unreliable level-crossing at St Albans Road, Bulwell.

The number of times a well-used level-crossing in Bulwell has broken down and failed to work has reached “unacceptable” levels, says a councillor.

Alarming statistics reveal that there have been 22 breakdowns on the crossing at St Albans Road in the last year, which represents almost one every two weeks.

The failures force pedestrians and traffic, including bus services, into lengthy waits and/or detours while engineers fix the problem, and cause considerable inconvenience.

“There is some truth in the point that the barriers are used far more than they were designed for, but breakdowns on average once a fortnight are unacceptable,” said Coun Alan Clark, who represents the Bulwell Forest ward on Nottingham City Council.

“A new design would not be easy or cheap, so the Local Area Committee has commissioned a study to look at the kind of improvements that might be possible. Maybe traffic lights, like those at Basford Crossings, would be feasible.”

The level-crossing works by dropping barriers to prevent traffic going over the tracks of the Robin Hood Line, usually when trains and trams are about to travel through, to and from Nottingham.

Most of the breakdowns are caused when the barriers fail to rise again, leaving pedestrians, cars and buses in limbo. Many people on foot have to make a detour of about a mile, which is a tough ask when they have heavy shopping to carry or young children with them. Bus passengers are unhappy if their services have to take another route, along Highbury Road and Piccadilly, because several stops are missed out.

Coun Clark has already held discussions with Network Rail, Nottingham City Transport and the NET tram operators to see what can be done.

A survey is also being carried out to find out what residents think.