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Wareham Level Crossing

Wareham ramps scheme overview

Dorset Highways is looking to provide a safer pedestrian crossing by building ramps connecting onto the existing railway footbridge in Wareham.

At the moment many vulnerable residents, such children in buggies and pedestrians with limited mobility, have to use the level crossing - as the bridge over the railway lines can only be accessed by steps.

Since 2009, following safety improvement requirements, a safety attendant has been in place monitoring the crossing to ensure the safety of its users between 6am and 1am (the following morning) when trains are scheduled to pass.

This system costs £120,000 per year and is not a suitable long-term solution in terms of safety or in terms of finance.

In order to provide a safer, permanent crossing facility, highway engineers have been working with Network Rail to design step-free access ramps up to the Wareham railway footbridge.

The new ramps (pdf, 186kb) (opens in a new window) will be less imposing in appearance than the previous designs submitted by Network Rail in 2013 and 2015. They will be shorter in length and have less of an impact on the existing railway footbridge. The existing stairs leading to the footbridge will remain in place.

Latest news - 4 April

On 31 January 2018 Purbeck District Council's Planning Committee refused the application for listed building consent for the scheme. There was no objection raised by Historic England.

Following the refusal of listed building consent, Network Rail has reiterated its position on Wareham Foot Crossing; Network Rail has stated that an automated barrier solution for the crossing is not a feasible solution. Automated barriers are not used by Network Rail for pedestrian only crossings and there is no current solution in existence or under development that could be used at Wareham.

Network Rail also stated prior to the planning submissions, that refusal of consent would not prevent the existing pedestrian level crossing from closing and that the funding available to support the design and construction of ramps expires in March 2019.

On 4 April, Dorset County Council voted in favour of the recommendation for the scheme to continue through the planning process and for the outcome to be decided by the Regulatory Committee. 

 

Proposed ramps

  • the overall length of travel - including the 2 ramps and bridge crossing - will be 138 metres 
  • intermediate horizontal landings will be provided, with a maximum distance of 7.8 metres (with 0.65 metres climb) before reaching a landing
  • the internal width of the ramps will be 2 metres
  • plans also include providing 4 eight metre high street lamps, 2 on either side of the bridge
  • the final colour scheme for the project is still to be determined. At the moment the design drawings use a combination of dark blue, white and grey to match the colours in the local area. Some brickwork is also proposed to match the existing footbridge stairs and railway station 
  • if the planning application is approved the existing crossing will be closed when the new ramps are open

Key dates

  • the scheme will go before the Regulatory Committee, date to be confirmed

Background

1973 - Wareham Bypass constructed and road crossing over the railway line stopped up.

1988 - formal lease agreement in place between Dorset County Council and Network Rail for a period of 25 years, with a further possible 25 year extension, to allow pedestrian access over railway line via the level crossing.

2009 - following safety improvement requirements by Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the independent safety regulator for Britain's railway, electronic gates are installed and safety attendants are employed to monitor the use of the crossing.

2013 - Network Rail apply for planning permission to build ramps up to the pedestrian footbridge and remove the level crossing. Planning granted but ramps not built.

2013 - lease extension, for a further 25-years, agreed between Dorset County Council and Network Rail allowing continued access across railway land.

2015 - second planning submission by Network Rail to install ramps and remove the level crossing. Planning application refused.

2017 - Dorset County Council lead on new scheme to design and built ramped access up to the footbridge, supported by Network Rail.

2038 - lease agreement with Network Rail for pedestrian access over the level crossing, through railway land, comes to an end. No obligation for Network Rail to resign lease agreement. 

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