Airport trains could back up more motorists
November 25, 2008
A new high-speed rail link between Bracknell and Heathrow Airport would mean a massive increase in the time a level crossing is closed – leading to possible traffic chaos.
If the new Airtrack Heathrow plan does go ahead, two additional trains an hour will travel from Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell, according to a report released by airport provider BAA.
It means the level crossing at Waterloo Road, which is on the border between Bracknell and Wokingham, will be closed by 10 per cent more.
The crossing is used by commuters wishing to avoid the A329(M) but when the level-crossing barriers are down, drivers can face lengthy waits.
BAA says it is working with Wokingham Borough Council to try to solve the potential problems but has already ruled out bridges or underpasses over railway lines.
Airtrack is an ambitious new travel plan BAA says will cut journey times from Bracknell to the airport from an hour and a half to just 35 minutes.
But people living near the level crosing are concerned.
Jack Yates, of Waterloo Road, said: “The crossing in Star Lane seems to be more down than up these days.
“You see people doing silly things in their cars when it’s down, just this morning (Friday) we had a near miss with a lorry and a car that was driving down the wrong side of the road.
“It’s pretty diabolical at times and if it were to stay down more these problems would happen.”
Nigel Jeffrey, of Waterloo Crescent, said: “The crossing in Star Lane is controlled by the signal box in Wokingham, so it goes down as soon as a train arrives there.
“As for the one in town, people do some really stupid things to try to get across that. I can see the advantages in getting to Heathrow quicker, but they need to look very, very carefully at the effect on traffic.”
A spokesman for Airtrack Heathrow said: “Effects on local traffic at level crossings along the Airtrack route are being examined.
“It is important to note that at this stage, BAA are consulting on the plans and residents have the opportunity to give feedback in a number of ways.”
To give your view visit www.heathrowairport.com.airtrack.
The company is also holding a public exhibition into its plans at Wokingham Town Hall in Market Place on Tuesday, November 25, between midday and 8pm.