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Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Alex W » Mon Jul 26, 2021 10:39 am

scoob999 wrote:
Alex W wrote:
Mal Grey wrote:Think there's a railway arch if accessed from behind the little petrol station (Dalwhinnie Services!).


Unless the filling station wants to use their car park to charge for longer term parking (just now the charge is by the hour and would be prohibitively expensive for a day or more in the hills).


It's £3 per day for parking.


Ahhh, I misread that on the sign as £3 per hour!

£3 per day is reasonable.
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Jul 27, 2021 1:39 am

Network Rail are saying that access now is from the underpass near the petrol station. There have been several close calls with walkers being irresponsible at the railway crossings in that area over the years and maybe with the increased hill traffic there has been more concerns raised by train drivers and this is a textbook CYA solution, but it is not the answer.
Folk with a bike may use the underpass but I'm guessing that people off the train will jump the gate. Proper access should be provided from the platform on the Ben Alder Estate side of the railway line and the bridge could be used to cross the line. If this is unchallenged there is nothing to stop Network rail closing the crossing at Balsporran also, after all there is an underpass a couple of miles further south. :shock:

Parking at Dalwhinnie has been free for as long as I can remember. I'm not sure why anyone would wish to pay £3 for it now, though I suppose £10 is ok if its being used as a campervan site and facilities are provided. Not sure how the neighbours will feel about that though. :?
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby WalkWithWallace » Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:19 am

We did an alternative route and cycled from the North, coming in from the Laggan side. One boggy section before Loch Pattack. But it was a more interesting approach than the book route from Dalwhinnie. 8)
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Paul Webster » Tue Jul 27, 2021 3:05 pm

Just to let you know we're aware of this. This crossing is a Core Path (CNPA on one side, Highland Council on the other) - indeed the only circular core path the community has, and most likely a Right of Way as one of the most historic routes across Scotland. It's been raised with both access authorities, and ScotWays /HC legal team are looking into it. (Private crossings are used on many routes - often with no alternatives - and there has been some controversy about them running for years - see https://www.ramblers.org.uk/policy/scotland/access/crossing-railway-lines-in-scotland.aspx)

It's bad timing as stated as the community has recently improved the parking at the crossing, including a donations box, and is applying for planning & funding for a better permanent car park by the new hostel; access from all of these (station, community car park, hostel) will be much less convenient, and there's likely to be adverse impact on the houses near the underpass. Last week the local paper reported tacks being placed in the car park with the intention to damage walkers cars, which is with the police.

The railway bridge would be a good alternative as mentioned if a link path can be made - but that doesn't alter questions about the legality of closing the historic crossing.

We'll post more news when available.
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby davekeiller » Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:17 pm

Thanks for that. It sounds like, in the interim, the safest and most practicable option is to use the underpass.

Thanks to the OP for letting people know, it would be an almighty pain in the proverbial to have suddenly discovered this at 10pm having just got off the train!
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Sunset tripper » Wed Jul 28, 2021 12:36 am

davekeiller wrote:Thanks for that. It sounds like, in the interim, the safest and most practicable option is to use the underpass.

Thanks to the OP for letting people know, it would be an almighty pain in the proverbial to have suddenly discovered this at 10pm having just got off the train!


In that situation I'm guessing most walkers would be climbing the gate.

The usual access points for these 2 corbetts (link below) between Glenfinnan and Lochailort is over a gate which has been locked for at least 2 years.

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/beinn-odhar-bheag.shtml
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby davekeiller » Wed Jul 28, 2021 10:29 am

You can climb the gate if you like, but I'll take the underpass with a laden bike.
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Paul Webster » Wed Jul 28, 2021 5:19 pm

Update:

Heard back from CNPA. If there was a core path across the line, the law is clear that access rights would apply. However, in this case the railway line is the local authority boundary (for access, as it's the Park boundary), and apparently the CNPA core path ends on the E side of the line and the Highland Council core path doesn't start until the W side of the line. This seems very unfortunate, to say the least, but means that CNPA say they can't legally require Network Rail to open the gate. However, they do note there is great disquiet in the Dalwhinnie community, given their car park, plans and grant, the new hostel etc. so hopefully there will be a negotiated solution.

Scotways are taking things up with Highland Council and their legal team - I'll report back if I hear anything else on that front. I think Ramblers are also involved.
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu Jul 29, 2021 1:55 am

Network rail possibly creating problems at this crossing that previously didn't exist. They can be assured that folk will climb the gates to access the land with heavy packs and possibly bikes, and NR may now have created a safety issue. I'm not sure that locking the gate means they have now made it illegal to cross here - Maybe there will be a test case one day.

Balsporran level crossing next?
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Paul Webster » Thu Jul 29, 2021 9:19 am

I'm aware of that pair of Corbetts - have been hoping the potential problem there stays under the radar! I understand that British Transport Police had said previously (with regards to the spate of similar cases a few years ago) that they didn't regard the public crossing railway lines at official private crossings as criminal trespass - I spoke to one officer about this myself at the time, but the same was also reported by Ramblers. Network Rail don't agree and say it is.

I agree the locking will increase any safety issue, though I think those with bikes will go round as more convenient. The community - and no doubt the owner of the new hostel - are not impressed, given their efforts to sort parking; I think there will be ongoing dialogue and hopefully the situation can be changed.
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby al78 » Thu Jul 29, 2021 9:53 am

What is the problem with using the underpass which is less than a km (10 minute walk) away?
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Scraggygoat » Thu Jul 29, 2021 10:25 am

The core path E and W of the line is the respective councils trying to pull the wool over your eyes, and deflecting. They may have designated the path ‘core’ either side of the line, but even where not designated as core this route is clearly a Historic public right of way which continues across the tracks, consequently each local authority has a duty to maintain the legal right of access on public rights of way up until their administrative boundary (which may or may not be the centre of the railway).

You have been ‘fobbed-off’

Though I’ve used the underpass for decades, rather than the crossing, and in this instance have no problem with the crossing being closed. However I know locals will be **** off as it’s their regular dog walk circular and get annoyed when councils don’t perform and corporations don’t follow due process, so for all those reasons agree it should be fought as a case of principle.
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu Jul 29, 2021 6:53 pm

Don't hold your breath regarding the council or government protecting access rights here.

We saw what happened regarding the estate in Glen Lyon where the council couldn't really be bothered and now are actually helping the estate restrict access by ticketing cars that are parked responsibly.

If a council can't deal with a tinpot estate in perthshire hard to see them take on a juggernaut like Network Rail. Different councils of course but they already seem to be disinterested, and unlikely to get any help from the government if the Perth & Kinross situation is a marker. :(
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby Clach Liath » Thu Jul 29, 2021 7:00 pm

Rights of way tended to be recognised and preserved by the original Act of Parliament that authorised the construction of the railway. In this case the relevant statute is the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway Act 1861.

A fairly detailed map would have been lodged with the statute that would have identified the relevant rights of way. Neither the statute nor the map is available online so far as I can tell. However, they should be available either at the Scottish National Archives or at the Archives at Kew (or at Network Rail in York I think).

Assuming that the crossing that is the subject of the original post was preserved as a public right of way (rather than a private one for the benefit of, say, the estate), then it can only be closed (whether permanently or temporarily) following a specified procedure. This would require prior notice and consultation. Given the apparent local reaction, this does not seem to have been done.

I have found reference to a Thieves’ Road, which is clearly regarded as a right of way, that is stated to run from Dalwhinnie to Corrour and beyond to Fort William.

https://www.railscot.co.uk/locations/D/Dalwhinnie/

But the map found here indicates that this Road may have run from where the railway arch is:

http://www.heritagepaths.co.uk/mapsearch.php?path=226#zoom=13&lat=56.9129&lon=-4.2774

Previous comment that a path does not have to be recorded as a Core Path for there to be a right of way is correct, including if there is an alleged gap in the Core Path at the relevant authority boundary. NB the Ordnance Survey map indicates that the boundary is to the west of the line.

The Cairngorm NPA Core Paths Plan (https://cairngorms.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/CorePathsPlanFinal150727.pdf) shows a Core Path as passing under the arch to the south of the station but not one over the crossing. This is may have been because Network Rail objected to the designation over its operational property.

But the starting point must be 1861 Act of Parliament. If that shows a public right of way at this crossing, Network Rail needs to be asked how it has been closed. If Scotways and/or the Ramblers are involved, they will probably know all of this.

Assuming a public right of way was preserved at the crossing back in the 19th century and still exists (and has not been temporarily closed), then crossing at this point in itself should not be an offence.
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Re: Railway Crossing at Dalwhinnie

Postby davekeiller » Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:08 pm

@Al78 there isn't necessarily a problem with using the underpass. However, Network Rail have introduced this change without consultation. The community have also invested in facilities like a car park next to the LC which are now in the wrong place.
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