Attenborough rail crossing – November 2018
If you’re from Beeston then you’ve probably used the Meadow Lane level crossing to get over the railway and into Attenborough Nature Reserve. Back in 2016 Network Rail started to canvas local opinion on closing this crossing, and did a survey of usage
Turns out it was heavily used as it’s a major entry point to the River Trent/Nottingham Canal paths which are a nice traffic free artery that lead into
- Nottingham City Centre
- Lenton Industrial estate
- West Bridgford
In fact, pretty much any part of the Nottingham conurbation you might want to walk or cycle to.
Nothing came of the consultation in 2016, but this week this letter has been sent out. Not sure who it’s been sent out to as we don’t leave too close to the railway, but I did contact them in 2016 so it could be that’s why I received a copy (Click the photo for a readable copy)
So not looking to close the crossing this time which is a good thing. But, and you knew there’d be a but…..
These Miniature Stop Lights are an interim measure, so there’s a long term plan here that’s not being spelled out. There must be something planned to follow them in the future, but we’re not being told what it is.
Which leads me on to my main concern. I’ve seen Miniature Stop Lights used on other Bridleways around the country, so why do they need to downgrade the Bridleway to Footpath with a cycleway?
And what is a cycleway? Bridleways and Footpaths are Public Rights of Way (PROW) with very specific meanings and rights for users in English and Welsh law (Scottish law is much more enlightened, but that’s another rant). Removing those rights is hard and involves a lot of consultation.
A Bridleway legally guarantees passage for equestrians, cyclists and pedestrians. These means that at every point along them each of these users must be able to pass through. These means that all gates must accommodate a horse or a cyclist, and their must be no obstruction that impedes their progress.
A footpath only guarantees that right of passage to a pedestrian, and so removes the legal responsibility to allow the passage of cyclists and horse riders.
The ‘cycleway’ has no standing in law. It will either be just a word applied alongside the footpath or be a Permissive Right of Way. Both of these are much easier to remove in the future compared to a proper PROW.
From their survey in 2016 they’ll know the number of users of the crossing and how they were crossing. So my guess is that they know that a negligible number of horse riders use this crossing, and relying on the fact that most people will only associate Bridleways with horse riding won’t spot that removing the Bridleway status is also removing the full legal rights of cyclists to use the path
Once they’ve downgraded the path then it makes it much easier in future, for instance when the next solution come along, to completely remove cyclist access from this crossing. This would really impact on the ability of people from a large catchment area to have safe access to quiet offroad cycle routes.
This would leave 2 other options to get onto the canal/river for cyclists which are either longer or involve more traffic
Option 1 is to divert via the road crossing in Attenborough, adding on 2 miles:
Or accessing the canal path by riding along Queens road and then down through Beeston Rylands, which is a less attractive option and involves time on roads that aren’t quiet a peak commuting times:
If you’re affected by these proposed changes then please come to the meeting at Attenborough Village Hall on 5th December or contact Network Rail.