'We need our crossing' say allotment-holders at Aristotle Lane grounds

Oxford Mail: Trap Grounds allotments chairman Tony Hollander Buy this photo Trap Grounds allotments chairman Tony Hollander

ALLOTMENT holders have hit out at Network Rail which is planning to close a level crossing leading to their plots.

Because of major work set to be carried out by Network Rail over the coming years, the amount of rail traffic going through the Aristotle Lane level crossing in North Oxford is projected to double, from around 11 trains per hour to up to 22 by 2019.

Plans for the rail line include electrification, the redevelopment of Oxford station and a new line going to London Marylebone and this will mean there will be more trains.

They will also be going at 90mph – 20mph faster than they do now.

And rail bosses say this means the level crossing has to go.

But Chalfont Road resident Tony Hollander, chairman of the Trap Ground allotments, said the crossing was not unsafe.

He said: “The allotments are a real local amenity and they are in a beautiful place on the edge of Port Meadow.

“Network Rail has this great scheme of electrification and the lure of a nice, shiny station in Oxford but the price for all these goodies is closing the crossing and they say we cannot have our station with our crossing.

“They are threatening not to go ahead with the whole thing if Aristotle Lane is not closed.

“Oldies who love the allotments are going to have problems and it is not just the question of wheeling your bags of manure over the bridge, it is the huffing and puffing of the slope.”

At the moment there is a footbridge to the south of the level crossing which leads to Port Meadow but this will be rebuilt at a higher level to allow for the electrification of the line to take place.

The issue of closing off this level crossing had already been considered in the 1990s and again in 2002 and on both occasions it remained open.

In order to compensate for the loss of the level crossing Network Rail has said it will rebuild the Aristotle Lane footbridge, the only other way to Port Meadow from Aristotle Lane.

There will also be a new car park, although it is not yet known how many spaces it will provide.

A report to Oxford City Council’s executive board, which approved the proposals on Wednesday, February 13, stated: “Network Rail and the Department for Transport have made it clear to the city council that retaining the Aristotle Lane crossing would, theoretically, prevent the Government’s enhancement plans for the Oxford area and transport corridor from going ahead.

“Overall it is considered that the city council has no real choice.”

It was agreed that the city council would surrender its rights over the footpath but that it will only be closed once the improvements have been carried out to the bridge.

Network Rail spokesman Sam Kelly said: “There are major enhancements planned for the railway in Oxford.

“This investment will result in more capacity, trains travelling at higher speeds and an increase in the number of passenger and freight services – these factors represent an increase in risk of someone being struck by a train.

“It is right that we manage this risk and the best way to do this is to close the crossing.”

She confirmed that in the past 10 years there had been no fatalities at the crossing and only one near miss, in 2008.

Comments (11)

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7:25pm Sat 16 Feb 13

Sophia says...

Anyone who has seen a mother with a couple of todlers or an old bloke wobbling a heavy barrow of manure over this crossing, where through trains barrel through at 70 mph, will know it is an accident waiting to happen. Close it! Anyone who cant make it up the footbridge and down the other side instead -which takes perhaps an extra 2 minutes - is far too unfit to have an allotment
Anyone who has seen a mother with a couple of todlers or an old bloke wobbling a heavy barrow of manure over this crossing, where through trains barrel through at 70 mph, will know it is an accident waiting to happen. Close it! Anyone who cant make it up the footbridge and down the other side instead -which takes perhaps an extra 2 minutes - is far too unfit to have an allotment Sophia
  • Score: 1

7:34pm Sat 16 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

The moment there is a fatality, there'll be a campaign to close the "killer crossing".

Perhaps the footbridge should be replaced with a regular road crossing to enable emergency service vehicle access to the other side of the railway along with parking for allotment holders.

This would also permit the school to purchase the disused road alignment, move staff car parking adjacent to the railway and build pupil/community facilities on the existing car park.
The moment there is a fatality, there'll be a campaign to close the "killer crossing". Perhaps the footbridge should be replaced with a regular road crossing to enable emergency service vehicle access to the other side of the railway along with parking for allotment holders. This would also permit the school to purchase the disused road alignment, move staff car parking adjacent to the railway and build pupil/community facilities on the existing car park. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

9:57am Sun 17 Feb 13

GaryOxford says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
The moment there is a fatality, there'll be a campaign to close the "killer crossing".

Perhaps the footbridge should be replaced with a regular road crossing to enable emergency service vehicle access to the other side of the railway along with parking for allotment holders.

This would also permit the school to purchase the disused road alignment, move staff car parking adjacent to the railway and build pupil/community facilities on the existing car park.
I believe building a road bridge would be very expensive, of the order of £400,000 to build plus ongoing inspection and maintenence costs which seems hard to justify given the limited amount of traffic that would use it.
I think it's best to remove the crossing and to try to ensure the new footbridge is designed with shallow slopes for people using wheel barrows etc.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: The moment there is a fatality, there'll be a campaign to close the "killer crossing". Perhaps the footbridge should be replaced with a regular road crossing to enable emergency service vehicle access to the other side of the railway along with parking for allotment holders. This would also permit the school to purchase the disused road alignment, move staff car parking adjacent to the railway and build pupil/community facilities on the existing car park.[/p][/quote]I believe building a road bridge would be very expensive, of the order of £400,000 to build plus ongoing inspection and maintenence costs which seems hard to justify given the limited amount of traffic that would use it. I think it's best to remove the crossing and to try to ensure the new footbridge is designed with shallow slopes for people using wheel barrows etc. GaryOxford
  • Score: 0

10:02am Sun 17 Feb 13

Cathena says...

"is far too unfit to have an allotment" - Sophia, wait until you get older, have a good allotment and then be told you can't do it because the local authorities won't try to think up a suitable solution to a problem.
"is far too unfit to have an allotment" - Sophia, wait until you get older, have a good allotment [or similar interest] and then be told you can't do it because the local authorities won't try to think up a suitable solution to a problem. Cathena
  • Score: 0

11:49am Sun 17 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

GaryOxford wrote:
Andrew:Oxford wrote:
The moment there is a fatality, there'll be a campaign to close the "killer crossing".

Perhaps the footbridge should be replaced with a regular road crossing to enable emergency service vehicle access to the other side of the railway along with parking for allotment holders.

This would also permit the school to purchase the disused road alignment, move staff car parking adjacent to the railway and build pupil/community facilities on the existing car park.
I believe building a road bridge would be very expensive, of the order of £400,000 to build plus ongoing inspection and maintenence costs which seems hard to justify given the limited amount of traffic that would use it.
I think it's best to remove the crossing and to try to ensure the new footbridge is designed with shallow slopes for people using wheel barrows etc.
Indeed

But if a road crossing is put in, and the relevant people abandon their allotments because they refuse to use smooth road crossings instead of bumping wheelbarrows across 5/6 tracks of dual-direction 90mph railway...

That will open up the allotments for redevelopment for social housing.

The farce is it's the same groups demanding the right to run across a 90mph railway who demand 20mph urban roads for "safety".
[quote][p][bold]GaryOxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: The moment there is a fatality, there'll be a campaign to close the "killer crossing". Perhaps the footbridge should be replaced with a regular road crossing to enable emergency service vehicle access to the other side of the railway along with parking for allotment holders. This would also permit the school to purchase the disused road alignment, move staff car parking adjacent to the railway and build pupil/community facilities on the existing car park.[/p][/quote]I believe building a road bridge would be very expensive, of the order of £400,000 to build plus ongoing inspection and maintenence costs which seems hard to justify given the limited amount of traffic that would use it. I think it's best to remove the crossing and to try to ensure the new footbridge is designed with shallow slopes for people using wheel barrows etc.[/p][/quote]Indeed But if a road crossing is put in, and the relevant people abandon their allotments because they refuse to use smooth road crossings instead of bumping wheelbarrows across 5/6 tracks of dual-direction 90mph railway... That will open up the allotments for redevelopment for social housing. The farce is it's the same groups demanding the right to run across a 90mph railway who demand 20mph urban roads for "safety". Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Sun 17 Feb 13

davyboy says...

why not a foot tunnel under the tracks? no steps required! could be made wide enough for emergency access too
why not a foot tunnel under the tracks? no steps required! could be made wide enough for emergency access too davyboy
  • Score: 0

6:07pm Sun 17 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

davyboy wrote:
why not a foot tunnel under the tracks? no steps required! could be made wide enough for emergency access too
A tunnel wide and deep enough to take a full size fire engine.

With comprehensive pump system to ensure that the tunnel, which would be below river level, remains dry...

I strongly suspect a replacement road bridge would be more economical.
[quote][p][bold]davyboy[/bold] wrote: why not a foot tunnel under the tracks? no steps required! could be made wide enough for emergency access too[/p][/quote]A tunnel wide and deep enough to take a full size fire engine. With comprehensive pump system to ensure that the tunnel, which would be below river level, remains dry... I strongly suspect a replacement road bridge would be more economical. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

7:13pm Sun 17 Feb 13

zimmer, Wolvecote. says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
GaryOxford wrote:
Andrew:Oxford wrote:
The moment there is a fatality, there'll be a campaign to close the "killer crossing".

Perhaps the footbridge should be replaced with a regular road crossing to enable emergency service vehicle access to the other side of the railway along with parking for allotment holders.

This would also permit the school to purchase the disused road alignment, move staff car parking adjacent to the railway and build pupil/community facilities on the existing car park.
I believe building a road bridge would be very expensive, of the order of £400,000 to build plus ongoing inspection and maintenence costs which seems hard to justify given the limited amount of traffic that would use it.
I think it's best to remove the crossing and to try to ensure the new footbridge is designed with shallow slopes for people using wheel barrows etc.
Indeed

But if a road crossing is put in, and the relevant people abandon their allotments because they refuse to use smooth road crossings instead of bumping wheelbarrows across 5/6 tracks of dual-direction 90mph railway...

That will open up the allotments for redevelopment for social housing.

The farce is it's the same groups demanding the right to run across a 90mph railway who demand 20mph urban roads for "safety".
You are exactly right there, as the Walton Manor area was the first to have a 20mph zone nearly 8 years ago.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]GaryOxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: The moment there is a fatality, there'll be a campaign to close the "killer crossing". Perhaps the footbridge should be replaced with a regular road crossing to enable emergency service vehicle access to the other side of the railway along with parking for allotment holders. This would also permit the school to purchase the disused road alignment, move staff car parking adjacent to the railway and build pupil/community facilities on the existing car park.[/p][/quote]I believe building a road bridge would be very expensive, of the order of £400,000 to build plus ongoing inspection and maintenence costs which seems hard to justify given the limited amount of traffic that would use it. I think it's best to remove the crossing and to try to ensure the new footbridge is designed with shallow slopes for people using wheel barrows etc.[/p][/quote]Indeed But if a road crossing is put in, and the relevant people abandon their allotments because they refuse to use smooth road crossings instead of bumping wheelbarrows across 5/6 tracks of dual-direction 90mph railway... That will open up the allotments for redevelopment for social housing. The farce is it's the same groups demanding the right to run across a 90mph railway who demand 20mph urban roads for "safety".[/p][/quote]You are exactly right there, as the Walton Manor area was the first to have a 20mph zone nearly 8 years ago. zimmer, Wolvecote.
  • Score: -11

10:42pm Sun 17 Feb 13

Patrick in Devon says...

I used to have an allotment on Cripley Meadow, and didnt have a car. We didnt have a level crossing and had to use the Walton Well Bridge, mirror image of Aristotle Lane.

It will soon be a 5 track 90mph railway, probably becoming 6 track, perhaps more if a rapid transit line is built alongside (which is earmarked for future use). If the crossing stays open, there will be many vacancies at the allotment, as the users will get killed.
I used to have an allotment on Cripley Meadow, and didnt have a car. We didnt have a level crossing and had to use the Walton Well Bridge, mirror image of Aristotle Lane. It will soon be a 5 track 90mph railway, probably becoming 6 track, perhaps more if a rapid transit line is built alongside (which is earmarked for future use). If the crossing stays open, there will be many vacancies at the allotment, as the users will get killed. Patrick in Devon
  • Score: 0

8:17pm Mon 18 Feb 13

Orchard says...

The article misses out that the trains are required to hoot when approaching the crossing, and this annoys local residents. This could have been alleviated by having flashing lights installed as an alternative.
The article misses out that the trains are required to hoot when approaching the crossing, and this annoys local residents. This could have been alleviated by having flashing lights installed as an alternative. Orchard
  • Score: 0

3:45pm Sun 3 Mar 13

Citizen Sunday says...

“They are threatening not to go ahead with the whole thing if Aristotle Lane is not closed.--"

Sheesh!... The strategically important Thames Valley regions' necessary participation of the £multi-billion country-wide railway electrification projects- along with the desperatly needed and way long overdue £multi-million Oxford station redevelopment- not going ahead because of a few doddery old timers wanting to fumble around a cabbage patch?
Crikey- perhaps those opposing HS2 have been going about their campaigns the unnecessarily hard way.
“They are threatening not to go ahead with the whole thing if Aristotle Lane is not closed.--" Sheesh!... The strategically important Thames Valley regions' necessary participation of the £multi-billion country-wide railway electrification projects- along with the desperatly needed and way long overdue £multi-million Oxford station redevelopment- not going ahead because of a few doddery old timers wanting to fumble around a cabbage patch? Crikey- perhaps those opposing HS2 have been going about their campaigns the unnecessarily hard way. Citizen Sunday
  • Score: 0

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