Tuesday August 11 2020



In Full . . .


Posted on July 28 2015 at 3:44:32

The electrification of the railway line between Bromsgrove and Barnt Green has already caused considerable upheaval and inconvenience in some of our villages.

The work on the bridges on Hewell Lane and Barnt Green Road, along with road closures for other works at Sandhills Green and on Bittell Farm Road, meant that at times over the past few months Barnt Green has been very difficult to reach by car.

The same goes for Blackwell, which has sometimes seemed like a fortress and on one occasion was almost completely isolated by a cock-up over diversion signs.

Now the rail health and safety crowd are trying to make it more difficult to walk to these villages, too.

Network Rail has decreed that the increased number of trains brought by the upgrade will make foot crossings over the railway line next to Blackwell Golf Club and behind Cofton Hall unsafe.

While statistically this may, or may not, be the case, it begs the question of why or if they have only recently noticed they have a problem with these crossings that have been in use for many, many years.

To slap a temporary closure on the one behind Cofton Hall, barring a popular walking route for locals and visitors, seems a little sudden considering its “history of misuse” and a first step down the track towards these crossings never being used again.

Their permanent closure would, of course, be the best possible solution for Network Rail, when the only viable alternative appears to be footbridges at a cost of more than £1 million each.

Yet surely the cost of footbridges should have been built into the budget for the upgrades – after all, they’re the ones now telling us that more trains equals greater risk, so this can’t really have come as a surprise.

Why should we lose well-walked footpaths between our villages through lack of planning by an organisation that is now an arm of central Government?

Or perhaps we are being naive and it is all part of The Big Plan: If we can’t drive to our villages and we can’t walk to them, we’ll just have to use the train . . ?

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