Network Rail made a presentation to Blackford Community Council at its last meeting of 2017. The purpose was to follow up on a previous presentation over a year ago when Network Rail announced their intention to close a pedestrian level crossing near the village and to replace it with a pedestrian bridge.
Introducing Lesley Ann Cain of Network Rail, Chair of the Community Council, Janet Law, said,“Our recent study to identify cycle routes from Blackford to Auchterarder concluded that there are serious constraints to moving around the Blackford area. The constraints identified are primarily the A9 trunk road and land use patterns, in particular large and increasing areas used for golf. There were 150 responses to the consultation, reinforcing what we know about how important access to the countryside and good paths for cycling and walking are to Blackford residents.
“The Panholes Level Crossing is on a very popular route which gives access to green space and quiet roads. Network Rail came to a Community Council meeting in March 2016 and told us that this crossing is to be closed, but that a bridge is to be built to replace it. This bridge is vital as it is one of only a couple of routes that residents of Blackford have to the lovely countryside around the village without having to cross the busy A9, where traffic travels at 70mph. ”
Janet Law also reported to the meeting that Highland Spring have told the Community Council that, in order to fulfil Condition 20 of their Planning Consent for the Rail Yard which requires the diversion of the Core Path, they will construct a path linking the existing Core Path to the new bridge.
The new Rail Yard wil have a new siding and a crane for loading containers. Community Council Chair, Janet Law commented, “The size of the Rail Yard makes a new pedestrian bridge across the railway to replace the Pedestrian Crossing at the Red Brae seem quite small in comparison..”