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Wye rail crossing barrier to go automatic

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Wye's manual level crossing is set to be replaced with automated barriers next year.

The crossing at the railway station occupies a significant place in village life - with its frequent closures often subjecting drivers on Bridge Street to lengthy delays to their journey.

The manned level crossing at Wye will be automated in 2022. Picture: Chris Davey
The manned level crossing at Wye will be automated in 2022. Picture: Chris Davey

Currently the gates which prevent traffic crossing when trains pass along the line between Ashford and Canterbury are moved into place by a signaller based at the station.

But now Network Rail intends to replace the manual crossing - along with one at Chartham and one on the Isle of Grain - with remotely-operated barriers.

Cllr Noel Ovenden, chairman of Wye with Hinxhill Parish Council, says the crossing is something of a 'Marmite' topic in the community, with some people believing it prevents a rat-run while others are infuriated by the effect on travel times when it shuts the road.

Cllr Noel Ovenden. Picture: Paul Amos
Cllr Noel Ovenden. Picture: Paul Amos

"It's a piece of history disappearing," he said. "People are cynical about whether it will happen."

Network Rail spokesman Chris Denham said: "We need to replace our remaining manual level crossings in Kent, at Wye, Chartham and on the Isle of Grain, so signallers no longer have to walk into the road and swing gates shut.

"Our plan is to convert Wye to a crossing with flashing lights and lifting barriers, controlled from Canterbury via CCTV, by the end of 2022.

"We'll be in touch with our neighbours and stakeholders to explain our plans and how we'll get the work done nearer the time, as it's such a busy route in and out of the village."

Since 2009 Network Rail has closed more than 1,250 level crossings nationally in a bid to improve safety on the railway. It has also designed and commissioned a new type of level crossing featuring automatic obstacle detection technology.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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