A campaign group is warning that plans to close level crossings will split communities and create a ‘Berlin Wall’ of the rail line between London and Norwich.
A public meeting is being held on January 16 at Stowmarket Community Hub in Crown Street, at 6.30pm to fight crossing closures in East Anglia particularly those in the Stowmarket area.
While Network Rail says there are no specific crossings targeted in its long term plan for improving journey times it says it will continue to close crossings to make the railway safer and increase line speeds. It proposes to make the journey between London and Norwich last 90 minutes.
Among the crossings threatened, according to MP David Ruffley, are those in Stowmarket, Mellis, Haughley, Needham Market, Bacton, Finningham, Gislingham and Old Newton parishes.
Campaigner Rosie Carter, said: “This is like a Berlin Wall going down the county. It is going to cut and destroy the town. How are the children in Cardinalls Road going to get to the upper school? What about staff who live on the other side of the rail line who walk to work at Asda? What about disabled people who cannot use the bridge to cross the line? It will also have an impact on emergency services.”
Kieron Palmer a director of Palmer’s Bakery at Haughley, said: “This is dividing up local communities. People will have to make a five mile round trip if they close the Haughley crossing.”
Town Councillor Nigel Rosier said: “Stowmarket is a great place to live and is one of the fastest growing market towns in the country. This is an act of corporate vandalism - it will wreck the town and divide communities.”
A Network Rail spokeswoman said no decision had been taken about any specific crossing but the upgrade of the line would entail the closure of some.
“We understand that some members of the public may be concerned. However, each crossing is assessed on a case by case basis and consultation will be undertaken with local residents and a number of assessments, including looking at accessibility and alternative options for crossing the railway will be carried out.”Consultation ends on February 3.