Upgrade Improves Safety and Reduces Wait Time at Manual Crossings

Axle counters being fit on the East Suffolk Line
Axle counters being fitted on the East Suffolk Line at the Jetty Lane crossing in Woodbridge

Network Rail has completed a four-month project on the East Suffolk Line to make manual level crossings safer whilst reducing the wait time for those wishing to cross the line.

This section of the line features 28 manual crossings which are known as user-worked / footpath level crossings. At these crossings a person travelling by car or foot needs to call the signaller to ask permission to cross. Until now a person wishing to cross the line has had wait up to 10 minutes and in some cases even longer. This can sometimes lead to people taking risks such as crossing before they get authorisation from the signaller.

The project involved installing axle counters at 27 sites along with 15 miles of cabling. The counters are a part of the signalling system which detects whether a train is occupying a section of track between two locations.

Axle counters along the track

The new system will give signallers better insight into a train’s position enabling them to make more informed decisions and improve safety at the user-worked level crossings; it will also help reduce the time motorists and pedestrians have to wait before crossing the line.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “Our priority is to run a safe and reliable rail network and teams have been carrying out crucial work to make necessary improvements. The upgrade of this vital part of the signalling system makes the operation of level crossings safer and more efficient, benefiting passengers, motorists and pedestrians across Suffolk.”

The works were carried out at night and on two weekends between between 20 January and 17 May to help minimise disruption for those using the East Suffolk Line to make essential journeys.