It has transpired that Network Rail wants to close the crossing because they want the track profile altered and the layout remodelled. They say they could provide a new crossing further north but this is slightly in conflict with their plans. Their preferred option, the fullest one with the most flexibility and least risk, is obviously one with no crossing and a fully remodelled and resignalled layout. They have said the present track alignment is the cause of a number of derailments and they would like the track re-levelled to avoid these.
Resignalling and the fact the trains need to stop in a new position is also another reason why they want the crossing closed. I had suggested in my last report that this may be the reason for their wanting it closed. However we now know there is more to it than just new signals.
Network Rail claim the crossing presents a business risk and that customers will not invest in extra traffic whilst the crossing is present. They say the crossing is ‘an inhibitor in getting new businesses to invest in the nearby freight yards…’
Network Rail sent the council a map detailing their plans and this is reproduced below:
Network Rail’s rough explanation of what they have planned for the crossing and associated railway. Source: 853
It also transpires that Greenwich Council knew of the proposals a year earlier to close the crossing. This information was not passed to the local council representatives, residents nor the local MP.
Network Rail sent the council a formal notice to close the crossing in February 2019. No one knew of this until residents received their first letters in early April 2019.
Much of the information can be seen at 853, or in this comprehensive pdf document from 853 containing around 17 emails and letters between Network Rail and the council. These were gained from a FOI made by 853, but are considerably redacted.