Level crossing costing firms

Several businesses on the Weeting side of the Brandon High Street level crossing are being affected by problems with it since it was redesigned at Christmas''Pictured: Rachel Sobiechowski
Several businesses on the Weeting side of the Brandon High Street level crossing are being affected by problems with it since it was redesigned at Christmas''Pictured: Rachel Sobiechowski
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A ‘nightmare’ level crossing that keeps getting stuck is delaying drivers and costing businesses money, according to owners.

The latest jam at the top of Brandon High Street took place on Thursday after the barriers were stuck down from 10.30am to 1pm - the second time in a fortnight.

Businesses nearby say the delays are causing massive tailbacks, holding up deliveries and stopping customers from reaching their premises.

Rachel Sobiechowski, partner at P & R Garden Supplies, in Fengate Drove, Weeting, said it missed a delivery because of Thursday’s delays.

“It’s affecting suppliers getting to us and our customers from Brandon just can’t get to us.

“If it happens in the spring then it will definitely hit our business,” she said.

Michael Allen, from L. Fysh Supplies in Weeting, said its business had been affected.

“We just miss out on so much passing trade, “he said.

Bob Betts, of B & B Betts Sheds, said: “You don’t know it’s gone wrong until you see a big tailback up to Mundford.

“When we are busy there are three lorries a day coming in here and that will create problems.”

Network Rail, who upgraded the crossing in August 2012, said it was doing everything it could to ‘maintain reliability’.

A spokesman said: “Complications with the power supply caused the barriers to remain in the down position for two hours on March 28 but engineers were on site as quickly as possible to fix the crossing.

“We apologise to local people and businesses for the inconvenience caused when the barriers are not working correctly and we can assure them we do all we can so the number of incidents is kept to a minimum.”

The type of crossing, which uses obstacle detection technology, has been used successfully in Germany for ten years, according to the spokesman.

Cllr Ian Horner is set to bring the issue up before Brandon Town Council at a meeting on Monday.

He said residents were being treated like ‘guinea pigs’ by Network Rail.

“Brandon has enough traffic problems without the crossing barriers bringing the town to halt every time they fail.

“Network Rail is wasting time and money hoping this might work one day.

“Meanwhile we residents and our local businesses continue to suffer,” he said.

Liberal Democrat MEP, Andrew Duff, has written to Network Rail asking them to find a resolution to the problem.

He said the problems at Brandon could put plans to have trains running on the Cambridge to Norwich line every half an hour in jeopardy.