Rail bosses face widespread calls to reopen Dalwhinnie level crossing gates

Together with local and national stakeholders, we met with Network Rail on Tuesday 21 September to call for the urgent unlocking of gates at Dalwhinnie level crossing.  
 
The meeting was attended by a wide range of interested parties including local MSPs’ researchers, representatives of the community council, Cairngorms National Park Authority and estate as well as national recreational groups such as ourselves.  

Every single organisation attending told Network Rail that it should reopen the gates.

The level crossing gates were locked without consultation in late July, with Network Rail signs guiding people towards a long and unattractive diversion with limited parking. 

By doing so, it blocked this important and historic route towards popular lochs, glens and hills including Ben Alder. Read the background here

We are hugely grateful to more than 9,000 people who asked for the route to be reopened by using our joint petition - supported by Mountaineering Scotland, Scottish Canoe Association, ScotWays, British Horse Society, Cycling UK in Scotland and the Munro Society.  

The incredible response to the petition helped us secure the meeting with Network Rail – and we shared the results with rail bosses yesterday.  

We also made practical suggestions for possible solutions during the meeting – such as asking Network Rail to reconsider its decision to reject the recommendation of its own safety review by ruling out the installation of miniature stop lights. 

We stressed that Network Rail’s actions have made the crossing less safe, as we know that people continue to climb over the locked gates. 

Sadly, Network Rail managers refused to back down, but they did commit to once again review alternative solutions. We will hold them to that commitment. 

We are now considering our next steps with campaign partners and we will keep in touch with our supporters, members and volunteers.  

The campaign goes on. 
 
  
 
 

 

Jonny White


Given that NWR Scotland is a public sector organisation funded by the Scottish and UK Governments, is it possible that a more positive response might be had by lobbying Transport Scotland and/or the Scottish Transport Minister, Graeme Dey?

Danny Carden at Ramblers Scotland


Hi Jonny.

Yes, we'll continue to have discussions with all our stakeholders in the coming weeks and that will include keeping the Scottish Government informed. In fact, we've had detailed discussions about access at Dalwhinnie and all level crossings at yesterday's National Access Forum, which included Scottish Government representatives. We hope that Network Rail can see sense and pursue a viable alternative to the closure.

Thanks for your support,

Danny Carden, Ramblers Scotland communications manager

Rod Dalitz


The IET has a webinar on September 27 at 6pm titled "Protecting lightly used railway crossings" which might be of interest - the IET is a charity and therefore has to make its webinars available to the public. See
https://localevents.theiet.org/235230

Rod Dalitz


At the IET webinar, presented by Ken Vine, Network Technical Head of Level Crossing Engineering for Network Rail, I asked a question about Dalwhinnie, ending with "Does Network Rail consult users?" Ken Vine replied that closure goes through a long and careful process.

That might be true in other cases, but clearly not for Dalwhinnie, which I suspect Network Rail might have seen as primarily a private drive.