Network Rail has announced details of work to be carried out at two of Dingwall's three crossings later this year. Dingwall Middle (where the railway crosses the A862) is currently an AOCL+B, the barriers being installed a few years ago. It will be upgraded to a full barrier crossing - the road thus being completely blocked - with object detection equipment. This will sense that there is nothing bigger than a hedgehog on the roadway before the barriers are lowered. The road will be shut for two weeks in July. Dingwall No.1 is currently an AOCL (ie. without barriers, but with red wigwag lights) and it will be upgraded in the same way as Middle. This work will be done in August. There has been a lot of misuse at both crossings, and the proximity of No.1 to the school has been a worry. While those moved by an excess of dare-devilry might still act in a foolish manner, the presence of full barriers should at least stop pupils engrossed in hand-held devices from wandering where it would be hazardous to do so. Well, we can but hope. No work is planned at Dingwall No.2 (an AOCL+B).
NR has made an application to The Highland Council for permission to build an overbridge to carry the minor road from Barbaraville to the A9, allowing the closure of the crossing at Delny. Readers will remember that this was upgraded to an ABCL last autumn, allowing an increase in line-speed to 55mph. When the crossing is closed - in 2019/20 if permission is granted quickly - the lineside equipment will be taken to Kildonan. This will allow the linespeed to be increased at Delny to the prevailing 75mph either side of the crossing, and to something greater than 0mph at Kildonan. Welcome to the third decade of the 21st Century!
Further into CP6 there are plans to do work at Rogart and Bunchrew on the FNL, and Strathcarron and Balnacra on the Kyle Line. It's worth noting on the Kyle Line that work is to be carried out on the A890 at Attadale. The Press & Journal says (5 April) "[THC] is working with [NR] to design a bypass which will allow cars and light vehicles to use the railway between scheduled trains". It is to be hoped that a temporary scheme to last for the 12 weeks of the planned disruption might just set a precedent for a permanent way of sharing the very narrow strip of land thereabouts.
Mike has written a series of articles over several years about level crossings:
Locally monitored means there is a signal for train drivers to confirm the crossing is set and they have to confirm visually that it's safe.