Weekend barrier hell to strike again

Traffic and pedestrian queues in Lincoln city centre look set to sore again on October 16, as Network Rail continues maintenance work on the East Coast line.

Due to engineering works taking place along the Newark North Gate to Peterborough line, more trains will be diverted through Lincoln and Spalding again.

This means that the rail barriers in the city could be down up to 56 times more than usual at the weekend, a busy time for Lincoln’s shoppers.

The work will begin at 12pm on the Saturday, and end on October 17 at 11am.

The trains passing through the city will mainly be the First Hull and East Coast train services, with other operators rescheduling or cancelling trains.

The problem first arose last weekend on October 9, when Network Rail began the first part of their engineering works between Newark and Peterborough.

General Manager of the area for Network Rail Kevin Preece has apologised for the disruption, and pointed out that railway crossings are safety measures.

He told the BBC: “These works are an essential investment to maintain the quality of the track on east coast and prevent us from having to impose a speed restriction which would disrupt many more passengers.

“The level crossings in Lincolnshire are used by many hundreds of people and I apologise for the disruption this will cause to them.”

‘Pitiful and poor communications’

Lincoln’s Conservative MP Karl McCartney feels that the engineering works have been dealt with badly by Network Rail.

He said: “I entirely understand people’s anger and frustration at a second weekend of disruption to Lincoln city centre’s road users and pedestrians alike.

“I gather from conversations I have had that some local business’ footfall was reduced last Saturday, and correspondingly takings have recently fallen.

“I am in no doubt the rail crossing has contributed to this and this issue is, therefore, particularly pressing.

“We all understand that at certain times there has to be maintenance work on our railways.

“[But] Network Rail originally informed me and everyone else in Lincoln of this disruption just over 24hrs before it was due to start. What stopped them telling us six months ago?

“It is the result of the pitiful and very poor communications policy followed by this national organisation that leads it to treat the people and businesses of Lincoln in this shoddy manner.

“I will be making my feelings known face to face with Network Rail’s senior management in the near future.”

Alternative routes

If you are going to be in the city centre on foot or in a car this weekend, then there are ways of getting around the barriers on the High Street and Brayford Wharf East.

If in a car, instead of going along the Hight Street, travel along Tritton Road (via Dixon Street) and over Brayford Way bridge.

You can also go drive down Canwick Road and over Pelham Bridge to avoid the crossings.

Pedestrians can also use the above routes, but a quicker alternative if you are stuck at the High Street crossing is to walk along the alley next to Iceland.

Through the car park behind the High Street, there is a foot/cycle bridge which leads onto St Mary’s Street.

Network Rail’s map of the engineering delays here [PDF] | Photo: Adam Rhodes