Shropshire Star

Remote control Shropshire rail crossing plan on hold

Controversial £25 million plans to remotely control three Shropshire railway level crossings from 123 miles away in Cardiff have been put on hold due to 'technical problems'.


Network Rail wants to shut three manned signal boxes – at Harlescott Lane in Shrewsbury, Wem and Prees – and replace them with a computerised system managed from a control centre in Cardiff.

The £25 million project has put the jobs of 35 signalling staff on the Shrewsbury to Crewe railway line at risk.

Railway union bosses have called for the plan to be scrapped and, today, Network Rail announced the plans to modernise the crossings had been put on hold due to 'technical problems' with the new automatic level crossings.

John Baker, for Network Rail, blamed problems at sites in East Anglia for the decision.

He said the changes would remain on hold until those issues were resolved.

"This means that, until the technical problems can be ironed out, none of the 35 jobs of signalling staff will be lost on the Crewe to Shrewsbury route for the time being," he added.

Mr Baker said it was unlikely the modernisation plan would recommence until October.

He added: "Level crossing safety remains one of our top priorities, shown clearly by our £130m investment programme."

Earlier this week bosses at the Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) called for the new signalling programme to be scrapped following concerns about its safety.

Union bosses said serious problems have been uncovered on the Crewe to Shrewsbury scheme, including incorrect detectors fitted to crossings which could not detect cars underneath.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: "RMT is deeply worried at the reports concerning safety issues arising from the proposal to operate level crossings remotely. RMT wants the implementation of this system withdrawn on the grounds of safety as a matter of urgency."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.