Please see the statement below about the recent total closure of Morton Carr crossing near Nunthorpe by Network Rail.
The statement has been put together by two local cyclists – Keith Duncan and Andy Edwards.
Welcome to Le Tour weekend a la Network Rail and welcome to Le Tour A171 for Network Rail and Office of the Rail Regulator from local cyclists !!
Network Rail celebrated the Le Tour cycling week end by erecting 1.8 m high palisade steel fencing to finally stop all cyclists and walkers using a crossing to Guisborough Forest Walkway.
When the Guisborough branch railway closed and its tracks were lifted in 1966 the track was used by cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians. It became a bridleway and in 1996 a visitor centre opened at Pinchinthorpe on the site of an old station, which is now operated by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
To access this beautiful asset with stunning views of Roseberry Topping it was necessary to cross the Middlesbrough to Whitby single track railway at a gated crossing. This track has eight trains a day with a speed restriction of 35 mph on this section of the line. It is operated by ancient diesel rail buses known as Pacer (colloquially as Nodding Donkeys) trains.
In April 2013 without any discussion or consultation Network Rail tried to close off this crossing. This was followed by two further sets of works erecting steel fencing. No reason was given for this work. No statements were ever issued. It was just carried out.
By this action Network Rail are making cyclists use the Middlesbrough to Guisborough dual carriageway, a 70 mph road with little or no speed enforcement or a dangerous single carriageway road between Great Ayton and Guisborough.
Over the years since 1996 there have numerous detailed attempts by local authorities to rectify the situation over this crossing but these have come to nothing. There are no published proposals to end this situation and no timetable. No documents have ever been made public and there has been secrecy over the options that have been considered. There has been no consultation with the public over what options are available and who the landowners are.
So two Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland cyclists are inviting Network Rail, the Office of the Rail Regulator, the Department of Transport senior officials and local landowners to come on a bike ride on WEDNESDAY 3rd SEPTEMBER at 08.30 using the A 171 dual carriageway from Nunthorpe to Guisborough, returning via on the A173 Great Ayton and then going to see the work they have commissioned. We will send them directions how to get here as most are London based. We are calling this Le Tour A171.
One of the question any prudent person must have asked before obstructing the crossing is “Is it in the public interest for cyclists to traverse a crossing with eight trains a day (none on Sundays in Winter) like they have been for 45 years or ride on a 70 mph dual carriageway road?”.
Well here is their chance to find out what a prudent person would have asked just in case they forgot to.
THIS RIDE IS NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC DUE TO THE DANGEROUS ROADS INVOLVED. We are NOT giving any encouragement to other cyclists to join us. We are personally prepared to cycle it and since Network Rail and the Office of the Rail Regulator plus others like local landowners – made the decision that are forcing people to use it they should have the courage to join us. RSVPs will be going out shortly when we can work out who to invite based on the labyrinthine structures. The Chairman and Chief Executive will be invited as a matter of course.
We are also inviting out of courtesy, so they don t feel left out – some Redcar and Cleveland council members and officers to come if they wish. However they would be well advised to speak to their Road Safety Officer before joining us and we won t expect many if any to turn up on the day!
While Network Rail were busy spending thousands of pounds to stop cyclists and pedestrians using the crossing, their sponsors in government, the Department of Transport, were busy carrying out a consultation on the future of the Northern Rail franchise in 2016. One of the questions in the consultation under Trade offs (question TO 2) asks if the new rolling stock required by 2020 should be funded by reducing lightly used services. So the future of the eight services a day line is effectively under a back door review. The North Yorks Moors Railway company are understood to have discussions over taking part of the line. Again this process needs transparency not hiding away in a 86 page consultation document.
- Keith Duncan 07804 239003
- Andy Edwards 0784 024 7233
Cyclists in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and North Yorkshire
Please Note :-
- Network Rail is a private company funded by the Government which owns and operates fixed infrastructure including crossings.
- The Office of the Rail Regulator is an independent regulator funded by the Rail Industry responsible for regulating Network rail and rail safety.
- The local authority is Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
- The Middlesbrough to Whitby line is currently operated by Northern Rail on behalf of the Esk Valley Rail Development Company: a community rail partnership.
- Stakeholder consultation on the Northern Rail Franchise was issued by the Department of Transport in June 2014. The closing date for comments is 18 August 2014.
- The North Yorks Moors Railway is a charitable trust operating trains from Pickering, Goathland and Grosmont to Whitby. They also operate occasional services to Battersby Junction(further down the line from this crossing).