Stonea underpass closure an option for Network Rail

NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay has visited Stonea underpass

NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay has visited Stonea underpass and wants a solution to the constant number of bridge strikes there. - Credit: Steve Barclay

Closure of Stonea level crossing underpass to cars is being considered by Network Rail.  

The company has included the closure option in a multi-million-pound scheme to enhance the railway system at Ely.  

If Ely gets the expected upgrade, then access into and out of the city will be part of the improvements package.  

Network Rail says a decision on Stonea is needed to maintain safety for passengers, road and pedestrian users when more trains run on the line. 

They are proposing two options to the existing level crossing at Stonea and the adjacent vehicle underpass on the B1098. 

Option 1 

Upgrade the existing gates (which are manually operated by the signaller at Stonea signal box) to full barrier. 

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Option 2 

Same as Option 1 and close the underpass to all vehicles.  

The existing underpass has a headroom of only two metres, it is regularly struck by vehicles that are too high, causing significant disruption to train services.  

Network Rail says: “Closure of the underpass will prevent bridge strikes, reduce disruption of the railway and reduce the burden of having to regularly inspect and repair the bridge following a vehicle strike.  

“The underpass would remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.” 

Network Rail says their Ely enhancement proposals for increasing rail capacity into the city, won 76 per cent following a public consultation earlier in the year.  

Now they are inviting the public to comment on the proposals and options under consideration for Ely North junction and level crossings across the wider Ely area - including Stonea underpass.. 

Network Rail has secured £13.1m funding from the Department for Transport and £9.3m funding from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Strategic Freight Network. 

The aim is “to understand the scale of the challenge to increase capacity through Ely and progress early design options for public consultation”. 

Further design and development of the programme, including future consultation events later 2022, and authorisation will be subject to future funding decisions by the Department for Transport. 

Network Rail says that subject to securing funding, an application could be submitted at the end of 2022 based on preferred options. 

Their proposals for the major scheme at Ely could mean compulsory purchase of land and/or property.