"Time to act on level crossing congestion" - Caroline Pidgeon AM

London Liberal Democrats are demanding urgent action to ease traffic congestion at key level crossing bottlenecks in Richmond.

Following a “summit” meeting with Network Rail, South West Trains and London Overground at Richmond’s Civic Centre, Caroline Pidgeon AM, the Liberal Democrats’ transport spokesperson at the London Assembly, says: “Richmond residents and traders have had to put up with endless delays and traffic queues for far too long. We need new solutions which’ll balance the needs of the rail commuters, who need a frequent service and longer trains, with the need to keep traffic moving.”

Caroline Pidgeon AM was joined at the meeting by Susan Kramer, the Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, and Cllr David Trigg, the lead Executive member for transport on Richmond Council.

They met to discuss the congestion caused by three level-crossings, on the stretch of railway line running from Barnes station, through the stations at Mortlake and North Sheen and into Richmond station. These intersections with Manor Road, Sheen Lane and White Hart Lane, less than two miles apart, cause considerable delay for motorists in the area - it has been calculated the level crossings are down for more than 30 minutes in every hour at peak times.

As well as the delays, the safety of pedestrians has been brought to Caroline’s attention. She says: “People get so frustrated waiting for the barriers that some have been tempted to go round them and run across the tracks. Children have been seen doing this and it’s just an accident waiting to happen.”

Susan Kramer MP called for a wider meeting involving Transport for London and London Underground and for surveys on origins and destinations of road traffic crossing the rail lines.

Cllr David Trigg says: “We’re all actively looking to determine the best solution given the increasing usage of the rail network.”