Lady Howard Crossing - feedback from Network Rail
Network Rail have asked that we share some information via this Blog regarding the functionality for the recently installed Miniature Stop Light (MSL) system at Lady Howard crossing. Network Rail have received a number questions from concerned crossing users in regards to having sufficient time to traverse over the crossing safely on activation of the red light and audible warning.
The crossing at Lady Howard has been used for many years as a Stop-Look-Listen type crossing, where the decision to cross was made by seeing or not seeing a train approaching. Due to the long sighting distances at this location a train could be visible for a long period of time before it reached the crossing, particularly in the direction of Ashtead Station.
The new MSL system has been designed by NR signalling engineers to allow crossing users more than adequate time to traverse over the crossing safely, and these timings also include additional seconds to allow for vulnerable users who may need longer to cross. However, due to the long sighting distance it may, at times, be possible to see a train in the distance, after the system has stuck in and gone Red, leading users to believe the system has failed.
We have been asked to assure residents that the system has been designed with more than adequate time to complete a traverse of the crossing should the system activate following commencement of their traverse. In addition, this system will also inform the crossing users if there is a second train approaching on the other line. HOWEVER, the speed of the approaching trains may mean that the lights may go from a Red aspect and once the train has passed turn to a Green aspect but within seconds return to a Red aspect because a second train is approaching the crossing. This will still allow adequate time for the user to traverse over the crossing if they have started to cross once the light originally went Green.
In the coming weeks, NR intend to have staff at the crossing for a day to answer any questions on the activation and sequence of the MSL and this will hopefully build confidence in the system. We will let you know when this is. Please also be assured that we will be monitoring the data download from the crossing to ensure that the system continues to work as designed.
The Crossings Manager and Engineer will be at Lady Howard crossing next Thursday 1st February between 10am and 2 pm to converse with crossing users. Also if anyone has any question's they are more than happy to answer. Email the ARA and the query will be passed to Network Rail.
Network Rail have also improved the crossing that's called "Craddock's Lane". This is the crossing accessible from Newton Wood Road to Ashtead Common. Here they have installed a new rubberized decking with built-in solar lights. The approach steps have also been removed and 'planed out'. A plea from local residents is that the "dog gate" be lowered in place rather than allowed to fall with a "clang".
With regard to the Green Lane Crossing a scheme to install MSLs is now in the design stage, though it might be two years before it is installed. Network Rail will keep us informed of progress and this post will be updated when news is available.