Previous plans for a stepped footbridge at Copmanthorpe No. 2 Level Crossing

Doug Paulley made this Freedom of Information request to Network Rail Limited Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Network Rail Limited,

During the national level crossing risk reduction programme around 2015, the project team proposed a BD-29-04 non-compliant stepped bridge at Copmanthorpe No. 2 public crossing, to save money in land acquisition and materials, on the premise that the footpath was not used by non-ambulant users.

Engineers looked at the crossing it from an overhead line perspective. As the crossing was being removed and replaced with a bridge, this meant that the OLE could be lowered by over 1m (as it had been raised over the two Accommodation / Occupational crossings), and with an arched / ramped bridge design, a new accessible bridge 'could' fit with improvements to the approach on both sides. The proposed bridge had a design life of 120 years.

The project at that time was mothballled. I understand that this was because making the bridge accessible would simply cost more than a stepped bridge, and an accessible bridge was not budgeted for.

I notice that the blueprints for the current proposed bridge, at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/9... , were drawn up in February 2015. I therefore suspect that this is precisely the same, non-compliant, bridge as was planned in 2015, prior to the project being mothballed.

Please provide the costings from the project at that time. Please also provide three minutes and documentation of the decision to not proceed, and of the reasons for the decision. These will have been created during 2015, or during the year or two leading up to it.

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Network Rail Limited

OFFICIAL

Reference number: FOI2023/00703

Dear Doug Paulley

Information request

Your correspondence was received by Network Rail on 18 June 2023. I can confirm that your request is being processed under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) / Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). I will endeavour to respond to you as soon as possible and in any event by response 17 July 2023.

I understand you are asking us to provide the following information...

During the national level crossing risk reduction programme around 2015, the project team proposed a BD-29-04 non-compliant stepped bridge at Copmanthorpe No. 2 public crossing, to save money in land acquisition and materials, on the premise that the footpath was not used by non- ambulant users.

Engineers looked at the crossing it from an overhead line perspective. As the crossing was being removed and replaced with a bridge, this meant that the OLE could be lowered by over 1m (as it had been raised over the two Accommodation / Occupational crossings), and with an arched / ramped bridge design, a new accessible bridge 'could' fit with improvements to the approach on both sides. The proposed bridge had a design life of 120 years.

The project at that time was mothballled. I understand that this was because making the bridge accessible would simply cost more than a stepped bridge, and an accessible bridge was not budgeted for.

I notice that the blueprints for the current proposed bridge, at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/9... 2520Bridge.pdf&data=05%7C01%7CFOI%40networkrail.co.uk%7Ca417cbb9a06647a9179908db70148cb4%7Cc22cc3e15d7f4f4dbe03d5a158cc9409%7C0%7C0%7C638227006802620805%7CUnknown% 7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=zByUuKcKomhbAUgCsFyf8AiczxAhvZqfhkIGscPpWow%3D&reserved=0 , were drawn up in February 2015. I therefore suspect that this is precisely the same, non- compliant, bridge as was planned in 2015, prior to the project being mothballed.

Please provide the costings from the project at that time. Please also provide three minutes and documentation of the decision to not proceed, and of the reasons for the decision. These will have been created during 2015, or during the year or two leading up to it.

... if I have misunderstood or misinterpreted your request in any way please let me know as soon as possible.

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Yours sincerely

Elliot Palk Information Officer
Freedom of Information

Network Rail | The Quadrant: MK
Elder Gate | Milton Keynes | MK9 1EN
Email: [Network Rail request email]
Web: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/who-we-are...

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FOI, Network Rail Limited

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL

Reference number: FOI2023/00733

Dear Doug Paulley

Please find attached an update to your recent information request.

Please note that I miswrote in my previous email to you - the reference number for this request is FOI2023/00733, not FOI2023/00703. Apologies for the confusing here!

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Warm Regards,

Isabella Battaglia | Information Rights Compliance Specialist
Freedom of Information | Legal & Corporate Services

Network Rail | 1st Floor | Willen Building | The Quadrant: MK Elder Gate | Milton Keynes | MK9 1EN
Email: [Network Rail request email]
Web: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/foi/

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FOI, Network Rail Limited

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL

Reference number: FOI2023/00733

Dear Doug Paulley

Please find attached our response to your Freedom of Information request.

If you have any queries please contact me.

Yours sincerely

Emma Meadows
Information Rights Specialist
Freedom of Information

Network Rail | The Quadrant: MK
Elder Gate | Milton Keynes | MK9 1EN
Email: [Network Rail request email]
Web: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/who-we-are...

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Dear FOI,

Thank you very much for your helpful response.

I have submitted a separate FOI for the information you suggested.

I wonder if you may assist me as to whether it is possible to obtain the following information, and if so how best I should formulate my FOI / EIR request to avoid disproportionate burden.

This is with respect to both the 2015/2016 project, and the currently active project.

I'm wanting to ascertain:
Has any work been done to establish if the local authority will part fund an underpass, for example using active travel grant funding via Active Travel England?
Has any work been done to establish how an accessible crossing can enhance local walking and cycling routes, connect communities, and therefore release economic benefits that can be used to justify a higher funding envelope?
Has any work been done to evaluate the economic impact of not progressing with the crossing replacement?

Thank you for any advice and help you can provide.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Network Rail Limited

OFFICIAL

Dear Doug Paulley

Thank you for your correspondence - I'll take your email as seeking advice and assistance at this point and make some enquiries with our experts on the points you've raised to see how we might be able to help you with these themes.

I'll get back to you as soon as possible with some guidance. I hope this is helpful to you.

Yours sincerely

Emma Meadows
Information Rights Specialist
Freedom of Information

Network Rail | The Quadrant: MK
Elder Gate | Milton Keynes | MK9 1EN
Email: [Network Rail request email]
Web: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/who-we-are...

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Dear FOI,

Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Network Rail Limited

OFFICIAL

Dear Doug Paulley

Thank you again for your email of 15 August 2023, in which you asked for
advice on obtaining information with respect to the 2015/16 project and
the current project to close Copmanthorpe crossing and replace it with a
footbridge as an alternative means of crossing the railway; I have listed
your points below:

I'm wanting to ascertain:

Has any work been done to establish if the local authority will part fund
an underpass, for example using active travel grant funding via Active
Travel England?

Has any work been done to establish how an accessible crossing can enhance
local walking and cycling routes, connect communities, and therefore
release economic benefits that can be used to justify a higher funding
envelope?

Has any work been done to evaluate the economic impact of not progressing
with the crossing replacement?

Our experts have provided me some advice to address these points – in most
cases, we can’t easily identify information that’s held in answer to your
questions which we could suggest for a new request on this matter but
we’re happy to provide some contextual explanation and advice on next
steps for each point which I hope you might find helpful.

Has any work been done to establish if the local authority will part fund
an underpass, for example using active travel grant funding via Active
Travel England?

While we have had discussions with the City of York Council, we have not
discussed anything specific regarding funding. I can advise that we did
not approach the Council in 2015 to ask it to part fund an underpass at
this location, nor have we approached the Council for any funding for an
underpass in relation to the current plans to close this crossing as part
of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) project. The Council have also not
offered to part fund the installation of an underpass in 2015 or as part
of the current project. To advise, an underpass at this location was not
explored past initial design stage due to build complexity, a risk of
flooding and the space required for the build.

 

It may be useful to know that the design for the new footbridge, while
stepped, does have provision for ramps to be installed – so if the City of
York Council ever wanted to install ramps itself on either side of the
stepped footbridge, it can do so. Therefore, you might like to make a
request to the City of York Council to see if it holds any recorded
information showing why they did not explore the potential of part or
fully funding the ramp option for either side of this footbridge.  While
you could also ask us to provide you with a copy of the Diversity Impact
Assessment we produced in October 2016 to show the options considered at
that time, I note that you have already asked in your new request for us
to provide you with this document (reference number FOI2023/01026).

 

Has any work been done to establish how an accessible crossing can enhance
local walking and cycling routes, connect communities, and therefore
release economic benefits that can be used to justify a higher funding
envelope?

I can confirm that we did not produce any documents or do any work to
consider how an accessible crossing at this location could enhance the
various factors you’ve listed above. Our role in installing a footbridge
at this location is to provide a safer, alternative solution to how the
railway can be traversed by members of the public without interaction with
the railway lines, not about what certain crossing options might do in
terms of development within the local area for the community. Again, it
might be worth considering asking the City of York Council to provide any
recorded information it holds that might demonstrate whether the Council
considered any of the points you listed in your question above.

 

Has any work been done to evaluate the economic impact of not progressing
with the crossing replacement?

I can confirm that in 2015, no work was carried out to consider the
economic impact of not progressing with the crossing replacement – as
explained in our response letter to FOI2023/00733, we ended up
discontinuing the proposal to close the crossing and install a footbridge
as we received significant local opposition and counterproposals which
just weren’t feasible to pursue at the time. We didn’t carry out any
evaluation of the economic impact on this occasion.

 

In terms of the current plans for closure, which form part of the wider
TRU project, if we don’t close this crossing then the line speed increases
we are looking to achieve for the slower running lines in this area would
have a negative impact on the opportunity for more trains to be able to
run on this line as planned – which would then have an economic impact on
the wider running of trains on this line and also on the TRU project as a
whole, particularly on the York element of the project. Increasing
capacity, meaning more trains can run, also means creating longer wait
times at the crossing for pedestrians; while we don’t want to delay
people’s journeys any more than needed, we also wouldn’t want individuals
to take risks at this crossing if the crossing was to remain open with an
increased number of trains passing through.

 

While you could ask us for the documentation that sets out the overall
requirements of the TRU project, which set out the economic impact of
continuing with the works and the benefits they would bring to local
areas, we have already published a number of documents that explain the
requirements for different parts of this scheme, in particular for the
section between Leeds and York where this crossing is located, on the TRU
website at [1]https://thetrupgrade.co.uk/leeds-york/ and
[2]https://thetrupgrade.co.uk/benefits/.

 

I am sorry that this advice doesn’t provide much direct guidance on
documents you could request from Network Rail, but as you can see from my
answers above, I’ve tried to confirm as best as possible that we don’t
hold the information you are seeking on most of your points and I’ve tried
to provide you with some contextual explanation where I can. I do however
hope the answers and advice given in this email are of some help to you.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Emma Meadows

Information Rights Specialist

Freedom of Information

 

Network Rail | The Quadrant: MK

Elder Gate | Milton Keynes | MK9 1EN

Email: [Network Rail request email]

Web:
https://www.networkrail.co.uk/who-we-are...

 

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