Lincoln Ballast Hole crossing closure plans approved

Plans by Network Rail to close the Ballast Hole rail crossing near Moorland Way in Lincoln have been approved by the County Council on October 7.

Network Rail wants to remove the pedestrian crossing over the tracks due to concern about fatalities, near misses and trespassing recorded since 1995.

According to Network Rail, around 1,800 people use the crossing each week, many of them with bicycles or dogs, plus a small percentage cross using headphones.

In 2007, a woman was clipped by a passenger train en route to Lincoln Central, but despite applying an emergency brake, she died from injuries in hospital.

Network Rail decided to erect a pathway along the side of the tracks, leading to the level crossing on Doddington Road.

Lincolnshire County Council rejected the closure proposal in 2012 due to objections from locals and the Highways Authority.

However, Network Rail opened a new consultation in August 2013 to have the Ballast Hole Crossing closed via a Transport and Works Order Act.

This allowed Network Rail to build the path, but leave the original crossing open too. The consultation finished on September 27.

The new pathway near the crossing, leading pedestrians and cyclists along to Doddington Road.

The new pathway near the crossing, leading pedestrians and cyclists along to Doddington Road.

After the decision by the Planning and Regulation Committee on October 7, the crossing will be permanently closed in favour of the new footpath.

One local resident, Ron Everett, uses the crossing daily. He said he is disappointed that the footpath would have to close.

He said: “I use it to walk the dogs and to visit a 95-year-old relative we are the carer for. She lives in Hartsholme and we live in Middlebrook, so [the crossing] is a lifeline for us.

“It’s totally unnecessary, it’s been a public right of way since 1750, it has little history of serious incidents and fatalities. Network Rail have misconstrued a previous fatality here.

“Hundreds use the crossing, and I think Network Rail’s own video and surveys of the location would verify the figures.

“It’s interesting that 18 months ago Lincolnshire County Council dismissed it, because the crossing met all safety criteria with regards to numbers using it.

“It’s not a high-speed line, with mostly slow goods trains, yet Network Rail have come back to have a second go.”