Permanent Closure of Paget Road level crossing

edited July 2014 in General Wivenhoe Talk

Network Rail have written to a Queens Road Residents Association (QRRA) member, living adjacent to the crossing, advising them that they would like to close the Paget footpath level crossing.

The letter, from Network Rail Liability Negotiations Adviser, Rashel
Walker, stated that they - "would like [them] to support [their] proposal"

Click: QRRA for details if you would like your comments included in a response to network please email me at



  • We seem to be getting fired on from all sides at the moment! This move by Network Rail has been happening all over the country. Follow the link below for info on a campaign which has already been established for a very similar reason. Why on earth do Network Rail think that anybody local would support such a move?
  • This is absurd.  We all of us cross roads daily where we have to judge whether it is safe to do so.  The number of trains on the Wivenhoe to Clacton line is not that great.  Anyone who is safe to be allowed out on their own should be able to judge whether it is safe to cross the railway line.  Network Rail is worried about being sued.  Why cannot they use modern technology to sound an alarm or show a flashing light if a train is about to approach?
  • Is anyone aware of any accidents at that crossing? It would be terrible to lose such a useful short-cut
  • poopdecker asks "Why cannot they use modern technology to sound an alarm or show a flashing light if a train is about to approach?" Because although Network Rail may be worried about being sued, they're far more interested in saving money. The safety issue is just a smokescreen for cutting corners - or in our case, not cutting corners at all, but making us go the long way round!
  • I could be corrected on this, but my understanding is that the Paget Road crossing is a public right of way, perhaps pre-dating the railway's arrival. As such, Network Rail would have a struggle to close this important crossing. I'd also heard that there were plans to fit this crossing with lights (and maybe a barrier??) to protect the accident-prone from being run over...?
  • I have fond memories of the crossing over the years. Last time I moved house, some of the move was achieved with a wheelbarrow over the tracks. Network Rail should be making movement around Wivenhoe easier (see thread on station access) not harder. The only possible votes for closure that I can foresee will be those objecting to the trains' loud warning hooter, which I assume would be unnecessary if the crossing were not there. I suspect that is why the letters have been sent only to people living very adjacent, whereas anyone living in the lower town east of the High Street would be affected by the inconvenience of losing the access.
  • Sudden thought: we know about the Paget Rd plans only because there are adjacent occupiers to be notified.
    What plans might NR have for the crossing at Lower Lodge and the one further along to the university?
  • Good point Marika, I'm in contact with the local counsellors and will make sure the issue is also raised. 
  • edited July 2014
    This seems to be what it is all about.
    The Paget Road crossing is one of 2,547 "Passive" footpath level crossing types in the UK.
    "Level crossings in the UK are generally safe. The UK has one of the best safety records among EU Member States". 
    However -  "We recommend that the Office of Rail Regulation adopt an explicit target of zero fatalities at level crossings from 2020."

    If the Paget Road crossing is a public right of way (as puffin thinks it might be) that will be important to establish.

    'Level crossings have been closed ever since they were invented, so what is the rate of closure nowadays? Martin is on home ground now, “We’ve increased the rate many fold. Back in 2008, I think we were closing crossings at a rate of about 20 a year nationally. Now we’re closing 200 a year.”

    These have been mostly private, user-worked crossings because they’re easier to close than those with public rights of way....'

  • edited July 2014
    I have lived on the lower part of Paget Road for 25 years, the only fatalities on the line have been cats and foxes. 
    Paget Road was built before the railway and ran the whole length from Queens Road to Brook Street, The even numbers in Paget Road have their front doors facing the line, this was because the railway took their gardens for the cutting. I don't know if it is a public right of way.

    I would be totally against a closure of this crossing and would guess by the footfall past my front door, so would a lot of people living in Wivenhoe.


    Edited for typo
  • Cyril is looking into this for us.
  • edited July 2014
    Hmmmm...there is no public right of way marked on the ECC interactive map. However it's good that Cyril is looking into this because...
    "This is an interactive Map of Public Rights of Way and is for general purposes only.  It is not the statutory Definitive Map which is held at County Hall.  District, borough, town and parish councils must also keep copies for their particular areas.  The Definitive Map and its associated Map Modification Orders must be referred to in the case of any specific legal query or dispute.  In law the Definitive Map provides conclusive evidence of the existence of any Public Rights of Way shown on it.  This interactive map does not. "

  • How about fitting a bell or horn to the trains for them to sound on the approach to the crossing.......wait a minute, doh!!!!!
  • I don't live on Paget Rd, but am happy to take part in any action - direct or otherwise - that people are coordinating to prevent this closure from happening.
  • Thanks adrian; as Rosalind states earlier in this thread, Cyril Liddy is co-coordinating a response on this issue. I received an email from Cyril, Rosalind and Julie see below, which summarises the Network Rail case and also explains who you should email to make your views known.   

    Network Rail say

    1. There is a safer, “grade-separated” alternative route nearby on Anglsea Road and therefore the level crossing is not considered to be necessary.

    1. There is insufficient sighting of trains at the level crossing.

    1. Pedestrian safety is of great concern. A collision with a train would likely be fatal or cause changing injuries. At that location, the line speed is 75 mph and there are 95 trains passing by each weekday.

    You judge for yourself if they are valid reasons to close down a footpath that has served our community well for over 120 years and is frequently used by local residents as access to the lower village and riverside walks?

    Please make your views known to your Labour team, Ward Councillors Cyril Liddy, Rosalind Scott and County Councillor Julie Young who can be contacted on with a copy to Rashel Walker, who is the contact at NetworkRail for this proposal, on

  • In the interests of transparency, this is Network Rail's own gen on the "Padget" (that's what they call it) crossing. Oddly, it claims that the average speed there is 50mph, not 75mph and that there are 90 trains a day (where on earth did they get that figure from?) not 95, but that's just nitpicking. It's rated as Grade C in terms of risk to individuals (graded A to M, with M being lowest) and collective risk 3 (graded 1 to 13, with 13 being the lowest). Marika, you can also find the University crossings here as well. 9DD&radius=4
  • 75mph??
    That needs checking because it certainly doesn't look or feel that fast.
    Perhaps they mean that's the speed they'd like to do on that stretch.
  • I never thought I'd be a trainspotting nerd, but they've just lowered (in the last half hour!) the collective risk from 3 to 4.
    Anyway, this is an extract of the House of Commons Transport Committee document giving the Law Commission's view on level crossing closures:

    "Closure of level crossings

    28. The Law Commission recognised that decisions about level crossings involve striking a balance between the convenience to communities in being able to cross a railway and public safety. The Commission has recommended that consideration of the closure of level crossings should be based on a public interest test which would consider a new, "non-hierarchical" and "non-exhaustive" list of the following factors:

    i) the safety of the public;

    ii) the convenience of the public;

    iii) the efficiency of the transport network (including the network of public paths);

    iv) the cost of maintaining the crossing;

    v) the need for the crossing and its significance for the local community (including the protection of heritage); and

    vi) the costs and environmental impact of any works needed to replace the crossing or upgrade other crossings.[49] "

    I reckon there's quite a bit there we can use. More can be found here:

    I'll send Cyril all these links.

  • edited July 2014
    So if the Paget risk assessment score is C3, they've set it pretty high. The letter C relates to the probability of a fatal accident to an individual using the crossing, and 3 relates to the collective risk of all users that cross it, including pedestrians, road users, train staff, and train passengers. In the case of the Paget road crossing though that would only really apply to the pedestrians.
    Network Rail say they have done a survey of use and there are approx 65 pedestrians (some with bikes) using the crossing per day. They also say the 'large number of users' is a 'key risk driver'. Do I detect a Catch 22 occurring here on the part of Network Rail. The more the crossing is used the greater the risk, therefore it needs to close. If there were fewer people using it, it wouldn't have so much benefit to Wivenhoe, therefore it needs to close. 

    (Edit: posted before noticing alice's one above. So the risk has lessened slightly now to 4 rather than 3)

  • edited July 2014
    I still wonder at whether, despite Network Rail's bluster, they can legally  close a thoroughfare, which has been in existence for over 150 years (when the railway first came to Wivenhoe)...?

    This is clearly all about saving money (small surprise given the swingeing fines they've faced due to engineering over-runs causing regular delays, esp. in this region).

    Equally worrying are the implications for our two other crossings off the Wivenhoe Trail...

    Please write to oppose this lunacy via Cyril's post above.
  • Worthing brushing up on Network Rail's "language of lies"...

  • edited July 2014
    That needs checking because it certainly doesn't look or feel that fast.
    Perhaps they mean that's the speed they'd like to do on that stretch.
    What Network Rail have done, in the letter to residents, is given the maximum speed that a train can go on the Colchester to Clacton line. Instead of saying "At that location the line speed is 75 mph..." they should have said more accurately that the line speed on the Colchester to Clacton line is between 40 and 75 mph. Here is a graphic showing line speeds from their 2010 document 'Moving Ahead: Planning tomorrow's railways'.

    However, in the document alice linked to , the line speed at the Paget Road crossing is put at 50 mph. It also curiously says the line carries passenger and freight. Has anyone ever seen any freight movements on the line in recent times?
    And the 'approx no. of trains per day' being set at 90 is a hard one to work out. It is five less than what was given out in the recent letter to residents where it said there were 95 trains per day, but it still seems like far more than is in the actual timetable (although I haven't done an exact count).

  • We need to question the statement "Pedestrians or Cyclists" I'd imagine it would be quite a struggle to get a cycle through the "kissing gates" at the approaches to the crossing.
  • In five years, I've never seen a cyclist use this route.  Small wonder, given the challenges you identify Dazzer..
  • I've carried both my kids bikes over the kissing gates. Not at the same time of course. And when they were small a buggy too. We don't close roads off because they are dangerous or put up railing the length of the river Colne to stop people falling in. As for freight I have seen it on the line usually late at night.
  • edited July 2014
    I use this crossing every day with my dog. There is adequate viewing to spot oncoming trains. (Plus the driver sounds a very loud horn!)
    I have often stood and waited while a train passes and NEVER has it travelled anywhere near to 75mph- coming in or going away from wivenhoe.

    People have more chance of getting hit on a road than a train crossing.
  • I've got an adult bike through the gates - just - took a lot of twisting and turning on one wheel and was not really worth the effort compared to going round the long way. Can't imagine many people bothering to do it.

  • If trains tried to run through the Wivenhoe curves at 75mph they would derail! The actual limit is 50 mph [given correctly in the NR document above]. The 75mph limit starts at mileage 56.75 which is near Alresford Rd bridge, where the line straightens out. For a good while there has also been a 30mph limit at Wivenhoe Woods where the line is in danger of falling into the river. In any case trains did not pass Paget Rd at 50 mph, because they all stop at Wivenhoe now [save for a few empty stock workings and occasional engineers trains, but the latter have a 35mph limit through Wivenhoe].
    The more sensible part of the national footpath crossing closure programme is related to the fact that on main lines the trains now go much faster than they used to. But in Wivenhoe the trains go SLOWER than they used to, as up to the 1980s a large % of trains did not stop here and would therefore have been running to the speed limit.
    Of course we now also have the 'temporary' 20mph limit for Paget Rd itself, the purpose of which is to create an artificial problem (trains delayed slightly) so that closing the crossing is more justified as a 'solution'.
    NR close level crossings in their annual parliamentary Acts.
    Paget Rd is NOT a public footpath in the statutory sense, however the crossing has existed since the 1874 OS map at least, and we can assume since the line opening in the 1860s, so there is full evidence of right of use over that long period.
    It seems to be wrongly spent PADGET Rd in the NR database. It is also 'Crossing No.11'.
    Paget Rd was planned in the late 1850s just prior to the railway being promoted. It was to have been a through road from Brook St to the [not yet built] Queens Rd. But a level crossing for the road was impossible, as it is a good few feet above rail level. So only the south end of the road was built in the 1860s. The north end is still not present on the 1874 OS map but must have been built soon after that. The foot crossing was clearly conceded as a substitute for the railway preventing the road being built as originally intended.
    Will try to find out if horn-sounding [aka Whistling] is still a requirement at crossings where red/green miniature pedestrian lights have been put in. As people annoyed by the excessively loud horns of the new units might be led into supporting closure.
    I think ?? they recently put in miniature lights at another footpath crossing on this line but have not been to check.
  • Blimey! Thanks Peter. Now this is why I love Wivenhoe so much - I very much doubt if Network Rail knew what it was letting itself in for!
    Don't forget to write, as said by Dazzer above:

    Please make your views known to your Labour team, Ward Councillors Cyril Liddy, Rosalind Scott and County Councillor Julie Young who can be contacted on with a copy to Rashel Walker, who is the contact at NetworkRail for this proposal, on

  • Very helpful Peter; many thanks.  You're quite right about the lower speed too, but I think the 20mph limit has been lifted, as I haven't seen the yellow 'temporary' sign there for some time...?
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