Ben Alder Level Crossing, Dalwhinnie
Ben Alder Level Crossing, Dalwhinnie
Network Rail unilaterally closed this important level crossing in July 2021, negatively impacting local residents and visitors alike. As a result, Dalwhinnie community council, the local estate, other local groups and businesses, and national outdoor recreation bodies including ScotWays have been working together to secure the reopening of this crossing for the public but, for now, it remains closed.
Find out below what you can do to help restore public access at the crossing.
How Can You Help?
You can help us by:
- Completing our questionnaire and including a map of your route, if you have used any of the long-distance routes west of Dalwhinnie.
- Making a donation to ScotWays to help support our work.
Questionnaire and Map Instructions:
Detailed instructions are included on the questionnaire.
- Download both the map and questionnaire either as one document or separately.
- Follow the instructions to complete both the map and questionnaire.
- Return both the completed map and questionnaire to ScotWays by post or email to email@example.com.
- For your questionnaire to be valid we MUST have a map with your route marked on it or a digital file of your route.
Where is the Level Crossing?
Known as the Ben Alder crossing, it is located to the south of Dalwhinnie Railway Station, which is in the northern part of the village at the end of Ben Alder Road, beside a community-created hill walkers’ car park (OS Grid Reference NN 63348 84619).
The Ben Alder level crossing was closed unilaterally by Network Rail on 28 July 2021. This level crossing has long been in public use and is recorded as a public right of way. A historic route from Loch Rannoch along Loch Ericht to Dalwhinnie is shown on the Roy Military Survey (1747-55), which is testament to its importance and long-standing use. Nowadays, as well as the level crossing remaining useful for long-distance travellers, it provides a vital link in Dalwhinnie’s signposted local path network. This closure is of great inconvenience to Dalwhinnie’s residents and visitors alike. And if this level crossing can be unilaterally closed without consultation, where will be next?
What has happened so far?
ScotWays heard of the imminent closure of the level crossing shortly before the gates were locked, so wrote to Network Rail reminding them that the route across it is a recorded public right of way. ScotWays considers that the restriction to the use of the level crossing by the general public is an unauthorised obstruction of the public’s right, so strongly objects to its closure. Network Rail disagrees with ScotWays’ position, insisting instead that the level crossing is private only.
- Network Rail closed the Ben Alder Level Crossing to the public 28 July 2021.
- ScotWays is in touch with The Highland Council and Cairngorms National Park access teams, Dalwhinnie Community Council, recreational access bodies and many others to find a way forward. We still are.
- Ongoing consultation with our legal experts.
- Provided advice to Network Rail regarding their poor signage to help manage the public access problems and increased safety risks caused by the closure of the level crossing. Whilst some changes were made, the overall signage still remains poor.
- August 2021, we co-signed and publicised the Ramblers Scotland hosted e-petition which was signed by more than 9,000 individuals urging Network Rail to reconsider.
- Press release Dalwhinnie Level Crossing Closure – 12 August 2021
- Attended a Network Rail meeting (21/9/2021) with the local community, local authorities, recreational access bodies and other stakeholders.
- Contributed to a National Access Forum meeting (22/09/2021) where public access across level crossings and Dalwhinnie in particular was discussed.
- An open letter was sent to Network Rail (07/10/2022) expressing community frustration at the closure and lack of consultation.
- Attended a Network Rail meeting (27/1/2022) with the local community, local authorities, recreational access bodies and other stakeholders, to discuss the Network Rail Options Appraisal paper.
- An open letter (06/05/2022) was sent to the Minister for Transport following her letter to the local MSP regarding the closure.
- Press release Ben Alder Level Crossing, Dalwhinnie – 9 May 2022
- Network Rail added a statement along with FAQs on their website.
- ScotWays is gathering additional evidence of public use of long-distance through routes west of Dalwhinnie – we’d welcome your help with this.