Green light for night-time working on new railway crossing in Bamber Bridge

Network Rail has been given the green light to work at nights and weekends to build a controversial footbridge across train tracks at Bamber Bridge.

The company has won a council change of heart after the project connecting a residential area with Withy Grove Park was originally restricted to daytime working.

Planning officers have now accepted the need for out of hours construction because of the dangers posed to engineers by passing trains. The work will begin in February and is expected to last for four months.

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The current level crossing over the tracks which the footbridge will replace.

The Preston to Colne line through Bamber Bridge handles more than 80 services a day between 4am and midnight.

Network Rail says it needs to close down the line for periods to carry out some work and wants to keep disruption to rail services to a minimum by selecting evenings and weekends when fewer trains are running.

It says is it restricted to when work can take place because some tasks cannot be carried out when engineers would be too close to running trains.

A report to the planning department says: "In order to undertake works on or near to the track Network Rail must book rail possession which stops trains for a certain time frame.

The track through Bamber Bridge handles more than 80 trains a day.

"This is usually only permitted when there is least disruption to passengers and services - generally evenings and weekends,

"Network Rail has prepared a detailed construction programme which has highlighted approximately 30 night-time possessions. Network Rail advise that they will work closely with the residents by notifying them of the proposed works."

The footbridge will replace the current level crossing from the residential area of Asland and Brennand Close to the playing fields on the opposite side of the tracks.

Network Rail is in the process of removing 6,500 level crossings on Britain's railways to improve safety.

The company was given planning permission for the 9.5-metre high footbridge in 2015 and then again in 2019, but work has yet to start.

Locals have complained that the bridge is unsuitable for parents with prams, wheelchair users and some elderly people because it will not include a ramp and will only have stairs.

When the plans were ticked through two years ago local resident Martin Topping said:“How on earth can South Ribble say the council promotes the needs for the elderly and disabled and then allow a design that totally discriminates against them?

“This design should have been rejected purely on the grounds of discrimination.”