Ashtead Level Crossing

Improvement Works

The Residents' Association has now received details of the essential improvement works to the Level Crossing. There will be various days and nights of part closure or full closure of the crossing leading up to completion of the works in July this year. See below for the full details. Network Rail hopes these do not cause too much concern within the community.

The work will involve removing the lineside derelict brick building adjacent to the present crossing, installing a new building for the equipment and replacing the barrier machines, booms and electric circuits. Residents will know of the past unreliability problems and the renewal of the crossing will help increase thelife of the crossing and its long term reliability.

Network Rail have stated as follows:-
"They fully understand that Ashtead level crossing is a unique location which means the usual 2 week full road closure (day and night) to conduct all works is not possible. They empathise with residents’ concerns however unfortunately there will never be a convenient time to do the works, given the times track access is granted on the railway, meaning all works have to be condensed into short time periods with much time lost during site set up and implementation of safe systems of work. Failure to carry out the works during the June and July road closures will prevent the level crossing renewal being completed in July. As a result the asset condition would continue to deteriorate and failure rates would increase, which could result in works having to take place during an unplanned emergency closure.
All works at Ashtead level crossing are being taken very seriously, with a lot of focus from directors following the failure to deliver previously. There is also a corporate milestone to complete the works by July 2017, which we are regulated against by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR)."

The works to be undertaken are as follows:-

Full Road Closures

Saturday 13th May from 23.00 until Sunday 14th May at 12.00 (Installation of equipment building).

The email text from Network Rail is as follows:-
"Further to the letter issued to residents, I have some finer detail for you regarding disturbance this weekend. Between the hours of 00:01 and 03:00 on 14th May is the period when noise can be expected due to the disc cutting, breaking out of tarmac and vaccing. We will make every effort to minimise any unnecessary noise. Furthermore, those working on site are briefed on working responsibly in the local community. We expect staff to be considerate, polite and courteous at all times.
There will be pedestrian access over the station footbridge and footbridge to the west of Ashtead station, wheelchair and pushchair access will be via the St Stephens Avenue (cattle creep) underpass or under contractor escort across the level crossing."

Friday 16th June from 23.00 until Monday 19th June at 04.00: Network Rail have confirmed this will be a continuous 53 hour closure unless work can be completed sooner.

The ARA has replied asking that this be reconsidered as this would be hugely inconvenient for many residents, but we have to report that Network Rail say this is not possible. The email we have received states the following for this closure:-

"A formal noise notification for the works on the 16th to 19th June has been drafted and is due to be issued to residents imminently. The remaining queries from the emergency services were closed out on Friday, therefore we plan to go ahead with the road closure starting at 23:00 on 16th June until 04:00 on 19th June. This will be a full closure with no pedestrian access over the level crossing. Alternative access is available using the station footbridge and footbridge to the west of Ashtead station, wheelchair and pushchair access will be via the St Stephens Avenue (cattle creep) underpass.

With the ongoing works to renew the level crossing, the possession and road closure presents an opportunity for maintenance to replace the crossing decking and foundations without clashing with the renewal project works. Further to this, in the event our maintenance teams cannot replace the crossing surface in June it is not clear when these works could next be completed. The programme for the works itself has not allowed any time to open the crossing and it is unlikely to be opened, as the programme float is required to cover eventualities such as obstructions discovered during the works, plant and equipment failure etc. which reduces the risk of engineering works overrunning impacting train service and road users. The road will not be closed longer than necessary on completion of the works, however the closure duration is indicative of the time required for the works.

Car parking charges at the station will be suspended during the road closure and a minibus will be running for residents to the north of the level crossing to help complete their journeys."

Residents who live to the north of the crossing have been complaining in the past about frequent crossing failures sometimes for hours on end causing huge inconvenience, missed appointments and children being marooned at schools south of the broken crossing. The Residents' Association has been very vocal in requesting the crossing be upgraded and improved and unfortunately there is a price to pay for the works to be done much of which is caused by the unique situation in Ashtead where this is the only vehicle access.

As with previous scheduled closures, Network Rail will suspend the car park charges at Ashtead Station. A permit sticker will not be required. Network Rail staff or contractor staff will be on hand to supervise the car park, however all vehicles are left at the owner's risk.

Access over the crossing for emergency vehicles will remain at all times. (See below)

Wheelchair users, pushchairs and cyclists will need to use the Overdale/St Stephens underpass. Alternative access is available via the other two routes for other pedestrians - the iron footbridge and the station footbridge.

A vehicle will be stationed on the north side of the crossing to help residents complete their journey to their properties. (See below)

Friday 14th July at 22:00 until Monday 17th July 2017 at 05:00: Network Rail have confirmed this will be a continuous 55 hour closure unless work can be completed sooner.

The email received today (8th May 2017) from Network Rail states the following:-

"As mentioned in my email dated 24th April, we have now re-sequenced the works that were planned from 15th to 30th July. The duration of the works has been reduced from 15 days as the temporary operational procedures originally proposed introduced a significant safety risk to trains, road users and workers in addition to a significant prolonged period of disruption to road users and delays to train services over the 2 week period.
The main works will now take place from 22:00 on Friday 14th July until 05:00 on Monday 17th July, with a full road closure in place for the duration. The works this weekend are critical to completion of the level crossing renewal, to decommission the crossing, install, test and commission the new crossing into service. A formal letter will be drafted and posted to residents.
There will be pedestrian access over the station footbridge and footbridge to the west of Ashtead station, step free access will be via the St Stephens Avenue (cattle creep) underpass or under contractor escort across the level crossing.
Car parking charges at the station will be suspended during the road closure and a minibus will be running for residents to the north of the level crossing to help complete their journeys."

Throughout this time, the car park will remain open for all users including residents, visitors and customers for the station. A permit sticker or pass is not required. All vehicles are left at the owners risk. (See below)

Wheelchair users, pushchairs and cyclists should use the underpass between Overdale and St Stephens Avenue. Alternative access for pedestrians to the north side of the railway is possible via the station stepped footbridge and the stepped footbridge to the west of Ashtead station leading to Links Road.

A minibus will be stationed to the north of the level crossing at the junction with Woodfield Road and Overdale, to help residents complete their journey to their properties. Please allow additional time when planning your journey. (See below)

We have been seeking further information regarding Emergency Services, the Car Park and the Mini-Bus and the following is the text of the email we have received from Network Rail:-

1. When the level crossing surface is removed and replaced in June, the maintenance team will have a road/rail vehicle stationed at the crossing. This will be used to lift in a small temporary bridge deck to allow the emergency services to cross the tracks. Our maintenance colleagues have worked with the fire service to agree this arrangement and make sure the temporary deck is capable to support the weight of the fire appliances. Without the fire service being satisfied with our arrangements, Surrey would not have been able to grant the road closure. We also have a dedicated telephone number for the emergency services to contact site when a unit is dispatched, therefore the appropriate arrangements can be implemented before the emergency services arrive.

2. For both June and July closures, I have requested car parking charges to be suspended from 19:00 on the Friday’s until 09:00 on the Monday’s. The Monday’s at 09:00 is yet to be formally agreed with the operator, as to minimise the reduction of spaces for their commuters. For this weekend (13th & 14th May) the parking charges have been suspended from 19:00 on 13th May until 14:00 on 14th May.

3. We have requested with the minibus provider that the driver completes a circuit of Overdale, Culverhay, Broadhurst, Ashtead Woods Road, Links Road on the hour at night: between 23:00 and 06:00. Then in the day from 06:00, every 30 minutes (XX:00 and XX:30) with residents flagging the bus down. The issue with providing a mobile number for the driver is that at particularly busy times (e.g. people going to church on Sunday mornings) the number is likely to be engaged preventing residents from contacting the driver – additionally the driver will also be driving and it wouldn’t be safe to receive a high volume of calls at the same time.

Planning ahead
Residents are encourage to plan ahead where possible ensuring their vehicles are parked to the south of the crossing if they have early appointments or flights to catch for example.