26 August 2011

Why does new link road need a rail bridge?

So the Ransome Road to Nunns Mill link road has been approved. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour in this eyesore of a brown field site being developed, better this than green field sites. But why oh why does it need a rail bridge? What is the point of replacing one eyesore with another.

Back in the 19th century, when Bridge Street was the only way in to town from the south, a level crossing at Cotton End was considered sufficient. In the 1970s when Brackmills was being developed a level crossing over the same line was considered sufficient. Why now, now that the line has not been used in years is it thought that a bridge is needed? Even if there is a remote possibility that the line will re-open a crossing on the same level as at present would surely be enough.

Concerns have been expressed that the link road will be used as a rat-run, I would have thought that a level crossing, especially if slightly uneven, would have been a good deterrent.

There are some questions that need to be answered:-
  1. Is there some new regulation that says we can’t have new level crossings, even over unused railway lines?
  2. When was the line last used?
  3. Who decided that a bridge is needed?
  4. Who will ultimately be paying for the bridge?
These points I will be putting to Northampton Borough Council and West Northants Development Corporation. If there are further questions that need asking then let me know.

I'll report back as soon as I have some answers.

Link to
Planning application
NBC Planning Committee Paper
Chronicle & Echo Report 
WNDC News Article


  1. Following the Wikipedia entry on Level Crossings in the UK leads to this :


    Which appears to be point at which Network Rail refused to allow the building of level crossings anymore and gradually get rid of existing ones.

  2. And here it is from Network Rail