Motorists and businesses are being warned to expect significant disruption when a massive rail improvement project in and around Spalding gets under way.
The works will involve the closure of level crossings and roads for two-week periods but Network Rail has vowed to do its best to limit the impact.
The £280million Great Northern Great Eastern project aims to enable more passenger services on the line through Spalding and relieve some of the pressure on the East Coast Main Line by diverting freight trains. The upgraded line will enable trains to travel at up to 70mph, but level crossing barriers will raise immediately once a train has passed through.
Spalding and Peterborough Rail Forum vice-president George Scott said: “My understanding is that there could be four freight trains per hour each way.
“What we don’t want is for the Winsover Road crossing to become like Tallington.
“That is a freight line too and you can wait there quite some time for trains to pass.
“What I would like to see out of this work is an improvement of train services to and from Lincoln.
“The franchise is up for renewal next year and it will be interesting to see East Midlands Trains’ plans.”
One phase of the GNGE work covers the area from Park Road level crossing in Spalding up to Metheringham station and is due for commissioning from 9.30pm on Friday, July 25, through to 6am on Monday, August 11.
A further phase includes the upgrading of level crossings from Deeping St James up to and including Spalding Station. This work is scheduled for October 24 to November 3.
Spalding Logistics Forum, which represents more than 40 companies including all of the major hauliers, is concerned over the impact of the works on transport.
Chairman Trevor Hyde said: “Obviously we don’t want disruption at all but we recognise that the work has to be done and Network Rail has been professional in their dealings with us.
“It was originally scheduled for just before last Christmas but that’s our busiest time and they agreed to postpone.”
A Network Rail spokesman said: “This is a major undertaking to improve the railway in these areas.
“The project team has an ongoing programme of events, including presentations to local councils and public exhibitions, to help keep people informed about the works – particularly road closures and diversions.
“We have also conducted a survey to help develop the closure/diversion plans.
“However, we apologise in advance for any disruption and inconvenience caused as a result of road closures or revised rail services, and we thank people for their patience.”
Network Rail confirmed that the busiest level crossings on the route – including all four in Spalding – will be covered by CCTV observed by a signaller in its Lincoln control room.
The improvements leave the future of staff who currently work at level crossings unclear.
Network Rail would only say: “All affected staff are being dealt with in line with agreed principles.”
- Winsover Road level crossing is set for closure from 10pm on Friday, June 6, to 6am the following day.
- What do you think of the proposals for the GNGE project? What would you like to see improved on the rail network through Spalding? There are lots of ways to contact us – email firstname.lastname@example.org, write to us at Spalding Voice, Units 1&2 Winsover Centre, 14-16 Winsover Road, Spalding PE11 1EJ, send us a tweet @SpaldingVoice or post a message on our Facebook page.