Category: Network Rail (Page 1 of 4)

A new bridge is coming – but where?

Network Rail (NR) have announced that the public consultation on a new footbridge for Strathbungo has decided in favour of design A, which nods to the design of the current bridge and allows Strathbungo residents to maintain the fine old tradition of waving at the trains.

shows new bridge

However,  we still don’t know where the bridge is to be situated. The local consensus appears to be that the bridge be re-sited at the end of Marywood Square, where one existed until the end of the 1990s.

The Society met with Network Rail in early August to discuss this and associated issues of the road bridge on Nithsdale Road, where Susie’s still stands, though not for much longer (demolition is scheduled for early 2022). Network Rail have a deadline of 2023 to get electric trains on the tracks.  This means all timescales are tight but it seems much has still to be determined.

Moving the footbridge was raised and their engineering spokesperson said that he had done a location visit at Queens Square but had not investigated  the original site of the Marywood Square bridge, which seems odd! There seemed little resistance in principle to the idea of re-locating the new footbridge but the feasibility is in question. Where the engineer investigated at Queens Square, they felt there was no safe pedestrian access to it, as it is sited on a semi-chicane T-junction with narrow pavements on the Moray Place side at the Queens Square junction. NR believed that the same would apply at the top of Marywood Square. However this is not the case. Where the previous  bridge landed at Marywood, the infrastructure is intact with a pavement as wide as at  the existing bridge, but considerably longer and with the advantage of overhead lighting. It also provides safer access to Pollokshields, in that this site is nearer the pedestrian crossing across Darnley Road.

Questions were also asked about the road bridge at Nithsdale Road. Given the state of the bridge, it is not surprising that it is to be replaced but the new  road bridge will replace the deck only – not the superstructure at either end that holds it up – and  will remove the ‘temporary’ props under the bridge. The  new deck will be thinner from top to bottom than the present to raise the clearance. There was also discussion about the replacement parapets, ensuring that they are suitable in a conservation area .

For the Society, there are major concerns about how the new road bridge will be configured . Currently it is a  two-lane road,  one in either direction, due to weight restrictions. However, with new commitments by the Council to active travel, we are keen to enter into discussions with them about the road design. It will also be important to have a footbridge before the road works start, or crossing the railway will have to be done via Titwood Road or Albert Drive. As things stand, we are seeking the urgent engagement of council officials in the Planning and Roads departments to seek solutions that suit the Strathbungo area .

Network Rail Consultation Response

Here is Network Rail’s response to some of the questions raised by the recent bridge consultation:


Hello,

Thank you for your email and for providing us with meeting dates, I have shared these with the wider team and will get back to you with availability as soon as I can.

We have so far received a fantastic response rate from the community vote, and while we appreciate some residents in the area are disappointed at not being able to retain the current footbridge, overall the response to this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive. We have since extended the vote to encourage further engagement and the vote will now close on Friday 11th June.

For your reference, I have shared information below that supports some of questions that were raised by members of the community.

Community Option/Comparison to Stirling Station

Our teams were aware of the ‘Option D’ footbridge design that was shared by a member of the community, and while we are very appreciative of this engagement, the design unfortunately provides us with the same challenges around raising the height of the structure, an option that our project team and architects have explored in great detail.

The reasons for undertaking a bridge replacement at this location is that the bridge needs to be lifted in height to allow for electrification below it, and the sides of the bridge must have solid 1.8m high unclimbable parapets. Both these elements are safety related matters and therefore are not open to change or non-compliance. Due to the additional vertical loading from the proposed bridge modifications and the solid side increasing the wind load which would be applied to the bridge, substantial strengthening of the existing bridge would still be required, all of which would have significant impact on the visual appearance of the footbridge.

We appreciate there were some references in regards to the Stirling station project, although these bridge works are quite disparate. Stirling Station bridge was capable of accommodating the additional loading as a result of the 1.8m Perspex attached to the inside of the parapets, whereas the footbridge in Strathbungo cannot accommodate this loading without substantially strengthening the lattice work, and losing its main characteristic. The bridge in Stirling also sits within the A-listed station building and has a high footfall serving platforms 6 to 9, whereas the footbridge in Strathbungo is a C-listed structure, with a much lower footfall and doesn’t serve railway passengers.

Aside from the visual difference, altering the current footbridge with these changes is much more costly than a replacement. The bridge modifications could not be undertaken while the bridge remains in place from a safety point of view, therefore the bridge would need to be removed and taken away for such works to be undertaken. While the footbridge in Strathbungo encourages active travel amongst the community, it would not be a financially responsible decision to make these changes and raise the height of the current footbridge at this location. Although the most cost effective solution would be to remove the bridge entirely, we believed that this was not an appropriate solution in this instance due to local communities strong connection to this bridge, and as such took the novel and unusual step of creating multiple solutions and engaging with the local community to offer the opportunity to select their most preferred solution.

We appreciate that a bridge replacement is moving away from the Victorian style lattice structure which is there today, but sadly the existing structure is not fit for purpose in terms of the safety requirements for electrification.

Accessibility

In addition to the current footbridge not being the correct width for accessibility access, we are unable to provide the appropriate ramps for accessibility access due to several challenges. The bridge access on the East side leads directly onto the road at Moray Place which is not preferable for a proposed accessible bridge and the pavement widths also do not lend themselves as accessible approaches to the bridge itself. These issues associated with the road network and approaches are out with our control, and sit with the local authority.

There is a fully accessible alternative route over the railway on Nithsdale Road, approximately 50 metres away, and given the proximity of this alternate route, low footfall and this not providing access to station platforms, we are not obligated to consider an accessible solution for this structure. These factors, balanced with restricted space confirm that making this bridge fully accessible would not be considered an effective use of money. As these works form part of a larger tax payer funded decarbonisation scheme, we must demonstrate responsible and efficient use of public funding.

Please be assured that where possible and in line with regulations, we are progressing with many accessibility improvements along the route as part of this project.

I will be in touch shortly regarding the Zoom meeting, although please let me know if you have any further questions.

Kindest regards,

Rosie

Rosie Riddell
Communications Manager
Scotland’s Railway

Network Rail
151 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5NW
Rosie.Riddell@networkrail.co.uk
www.networkrail.co.uk

That bridge again

The reasons Network Rail say the footbridge at Strathbungo has to go are

  • It is too low to allow clearance for the electric overhead wires.
  • It is too dangerous as members of the public can poke objects through the lattice and risk electrocution.

Network Rail have proposed a higher bridge, with glass sides for protection.

A local, Seamus Phillips, created an interesting alternative approach, raising the existing bridge, and providing glass protection panels.

It is such a shame Network Rail have no prior experience of such a project.

Meanwhile, in other news

Here’s how Network Rail raised and restored the footbridge at Stirling Station to allow for electrification. How clever!

Bridge replacement at Stirling Station

You can read more about it on their website.

Replacing the footbridge – Network Rail proposals

The East Kilbride line electrification project means our dear footbridge is likely to come down next year (although there is at least one proposal on how to keep it below). Network Rail have sent letters to residents within 500m of the bridge asking their opinion on three suggested replacements. They want a simple A, B or C vote, and the return envelopes are individually numbered, presumably so they can ignore comments from anyone else. Before you return yours, we include some thoughts on the proposals, notably from Society committee member Fiona MacKinnon. There are plenty more on social media. And if you haven’t had a letter, don’t let that stop you commenting anyway; Network Rail’s contact details are here. As the phone number is their 24hr national helpline, you may be better with the email address.

Email: EKEnhancements@networkrail.co.uk
Web: https://scotlandsrailway.com/projects/east-kilbride-enhancements
Contact Number: 03457 11 41 41

Their proposals can be downloaded here but are reproduced below.

Bridge A

Description: a bespoke design with the parapet height forming a curved feature with a high metal rail on top and lattice frame overlain on toughened glass to achieve a solid but visually open parapet.

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More from Network Rail

Here is a more detailed response from Network Rail recevied by the Society last month. The letter clarifies Network Rail’s position in more detail, such as regarding their concerns over the bridges and station building, and why they feel they must go. Whether or not you agree, or what you think should replace them, is up to you, but hopefully you will at least be more informed of their plans. Comments welcome as always.

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So, what is happening on our railway line ?

From trying to ensure adherence to environmental standards over vegetation management along the embankment, to needing to explore the future of the former Station building on the bridge at Nithsdale Road, the Strathbungo Society has continued to correspond with Network Rail to explore what is planned in the area. Network Rail have been slow to respond, and not always fully forthcoming about either their intentions or timescales. Here we summarise the information that we have been able to gain as we believe that the Strathbungo community has the right to the information.

We Will Get Cleaner Air and Better Transport

There is good news. Electrification of the line between Central Station and East Kilbride has been given the go-ahead by the Scottish Government and is included in the current work programme. For anyone concerned with a cleaner, greener Scotland, this is welcome. Diesel power is responsible for toxic emissions including dioxides and particulates, pollutants with proven effects on health. Electrification will also mean a more reliable service for those who use the rail network.
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Network Rail Vegetation Management – 2019-20

We have amalgated a series of posts into one, so you can follow the development, or jump straight to the latest update. Older posts on the subject can also be found by searching the site for “Network Rail”.

Background to the issue

In September 2019 Network Rail notified residents along the East Kilbride line of vegetation management work. Past experience, notably in 2005, and current experience elsewhere around Glasgow, suggested “slash and burn”, or more correctly “slash and chip” approach was to be used, clearing all vegetation with little consideration for wildlife, biodiversity or environmental damage, as rail safety was prioritised above all else.

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Network Rail – Strathbungo Station demolition

(Latest Update on 19 July 2020: NR’s second response, background on electrification)

Only a couple of weeks ago we were concerned that Network Rail were restarting tree felling along the railway line, and sought assurances that they would abide by previous agreements. They replied to reasssure us that they would. There remains a certain lack of trust around what Network Rail say, and what they do, so perhaps this was a sign of progress.

Jump forward to this week and we discover that, without any consultation with anyone, Network Rail were to demolish the old Strathbungo Station booking hall (more recently Susie’s Shop) on 18-19 July.

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Update – Meeting with Network Rail

Some really positive news from today’s meeting with Network Rail regarding the line clearance through Strathbungo

As recents posts have indicated, Strathbungo Society had a meeting this morning -Friday – with senior managers from Network Rail. Kris Kinnear, Director of Capital Delivery and Alan Ross, Director of Engineering plus Niamh Hegarty, Senior Public Affairs Manager were in attendance.

This was made possible by the support of our local constituency MSP, Nicola Sturgeon, who kindly hosted and chaired the hour long meeting. The ongoing contribution offered by Nicola is very welcome and has already helped concentrate minds.

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Response to Network Rail’s attempt to justify vegetation clearance along Moray Place

Background and update

After the Strathbungo Society heard that Network Rail proposed to clear all vegetation along Moray Place, we wrote to them copying in our local elected political representatives and politicians to express our concern.  Ten days ago Network Rail responded to us 20 Sept Strathbungo Society NR Response.  The Strathbungo Society has carefully considered this and believes that it raises far more questions than it answers so on Friday we responded to them.   Set out below are what  we believe are the substantive issues at stake.  We would welcome comments either on social media or to secretary@strathbungo.co.uk.   We hope  local residents, and other people living along the Glasgow -E.Kilbride Line who will be affected by the proposed works, find it helpful and that it helps with further lobbying/campaigning.

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