Category: Network Rail (Page 1 of 3)

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.

However before we had time to publicise it here, word got out on Facebook and Twitter, and caused a certain amount of outrage. As a consequence Network Rail have postponed the demolition to allow a period of consultation. Why they couldn’t have done that first is anyone’s guess. Postponement is a long way from preserving the building, and they clearly see no future for it, but none the less it is a small victory of sorts. Thanks for this must go to several people who objected, and alerted others;

  • The Strathbungo Society
  • Vivien Thomson
  • Niall Murphy, Glasgow Heritage
  • Paula Khan, Change.org petition – you can still sign to support!
  • Cllr Jon Molyneux
  • Stewart McDonald, MP Glasgow South (includes the Station) – his letter here
  • Alison Thewliss, MP Glasgow Central (includes Strathbungo)
  • and others I may have missed

Network Rail’s response to the Society is below:

Hi Jane

I hope you are well.

We have taken the decision to postpone the demolition work planned for this weekend on the former Strathbungo Station booking hall which adjoins Nithsdale Road on the Southside of Glasgow.
The former Strathbungo station building has been vacant for some time and is no longer fit for commercial use. Unfortunately, due to its deteriorating condition, we believe the best course of action is to remove the building from the railway.

Pausing the planned demolition this weekend gives us the opportunity to listen to the concerns of the community, and to share more information about the structure and why we believe it has no viable short or long-term future.

There are a number of bridges in the area which will require different levels of work for the future electrification of the line. We are keen to share information on our proposals with the community at a time which will enable meaningful discussion as we develop the plans. This will be as part of the wider engagement ahead of work starting on the East Kilbride Enhancements programme.

We will contact you again to update on this matter in the near future but if you have any questions or would like to discuss, please let me know.

Regards

Owen

A further more detailed response was received on Thu 16 July:

Hi Jane,
Further to my previous email confirming the postponement of the demolition of the former Strathbungo station booking hall (Susie’s Shop), may I respond to some of the points you raised in your email.
Firstly, please accept my apologies that this situation has arisen. It is not what we want and expect in terms of how we conduct our business and is symptomatic of the time it takes for a large organisation to change how it operates and to live up to what we have committed in relation to community engagement.
When we became aware of this situation, we escalated the matter within the business and this directly led to the postponement of work.
For context, the work was planned in order to remove any safety risk associated with the deterioration of the structure to both the operational railway and carriageway and from any further trespass or vandalism – which has seen an increase during the COVID-19 lockdown.
From visual assessment, it was the view of our property team that the condition of a range of elements of the building deemed it uneconomic in commercial letting terms to restore the building to a lettable condition in line with current building standards and regulations. Some issues included the lack of utilities, the presence of asbestos but primarily the condition of the wooden floor, sitting as it does over the railway.
It was also noted that the significant investment required would be only for a short time period -given that the structure would require work to ‘height clear’ to enable the proposed electrification project and so a poor use of tax-payer funds.
As previously advised, a range of work is required on a number of bridges on the line to make them safe for an electrified line. We are in the process of designing these solutions and developing plans for how this work will be delivered. This will include securing all appropriate consents and permissions where required. The structure on Nithsdale Road will now become part of the wider plan to enable electrification of the line and consequently will remain untouched in the short-term.
As per our previous discussions, it remains fully our intention to discuss the development of this project openly and constructively with the community. The recent situation has reaffirmed the view of the project team on the importance of ensuring that our lineside communities are fully sited on what we are doing and part of the process as the plan is developed. This will include what the bridges look like and will not include any ‘temporary’ barriered solutions that become permanent over time.
I hope this clarifies the points you have raised but if you need anything further, please let me know.
Best regards
Owen

For some background reading I discovered a Network Rail document from 2015 on electrification. If you are of an engineering bent, it is actually quite readable and interesting. If not, confine yourself to Chapters 11 & 12, which indicte the issues NR are likely to have with the station and with the footbridge also. The footbridge in particular would appear to be doomed by electrification, so odd that they just spent so much money doing it up.

Meanwhile Paula Khan, who orgainsed the petition, arranged a drop in session outside the station on Saturday, and received many positive comments.

Comments on preserving Strathbungo Station

If you have any ideas, let us know, here or on facebook.

We will keep you updated as things develop.

Network Rail Tree Felling, again

On 22nd June Network Rail wrote to neighbours about the resumption of tree cutting on the East Kilbride-Glasgow line, which was suspended due to Covid. The letter makes little or no reference to the previous discussions held between Network Rail and the Society, which raises concerns about their intent. Do they intend to stick to their promises, or not?

The letter to neighbours is available below, along with the Society’s response.

20 06 22 Network Rail Letter (pdf)

20 07 03 Strathbungo Society response (pdf)

We have since had a reply by email from Owen Campbell of Network Rail, which is reassuring, and reproduced below.

Hi Jane
I hope you are well.
As I am sure you will acknowledge, we have all been blown somewhat off-course by the unprecedented global events that have impacted on us. However, it remains our firm intention to fully engage with the Strathbungo society and other interested stakeholders as we carry out the vegetation clearance and throughout any project which may follow.
Our recent notification was similar to the one that we distributed in February to highlight the resumption of work and, as it was sent out across the whole route – some 10,000 addresses, is necessarily generic.
It could not address the detail of the discussions we had with the society however we can confirm that where the railway narrows and the six metre corridor takes us to the boundary, we will work to retain a screen by selectively targeting and removing only those trees which pose a safety risk either now or going forward.
More widely, we will also honour each of the ‘practical commitments’ which we outlined in earlier emails.
As work resumed, we had our ecologists and those of our contractor in place to specify, monitor and ensure that the work was being delivered appropriately. This will continue throughout.
It is our intention to ‘manage’ the railway embankment to control regrowth and ensure the corridor is safe for the railway and supports a habitat and environment that is no less diverse than at present. Including establishing or enhancing the hedgerow boundaries
And while mitigation for the trees cut will entail planting outwith the railway corridor, we remain open to the idea of doing this in the locale of where the trees were removed – without importing any future risk to the railway.
We will share any further information and updates with the community as early as we can and will work to maintain the consensus we had reached on how the delivery of this work will proceed.
I hope this response provides suitable reassurance.
Best regards
Owen

Network Rail Vegetation Management – Progress?

Strathbungo residents will be aware that Network Rail has been proposing to “manage” the vegetation along the rail line. Previously, “management” meant a policy of slash and burn for all trees along our line. When the Strathbungo Committee heard of the proposals, we acted quickly to talk to our MSP Nicola Sturgeon and other elected representatives.

As a result we succeeded in getting a postponement while we had a commitment for further discussions with Network Rail. These discussions have now taken place.

It is clear from these talks that Network Rail will definitely be working on the East Kilbride line including our stretch on Strathbungo. We have tried to establish that works should conform to recently established environmental standards that respect biodiversity and ecosystem conservation along the line. We therefore enclose our note of the most recent Network Rail meeting together with the Network Rail minutes. These proposals will ensure regular consultation on the work.

We welcome any comments on this, to chair@strathbungo.co.uk

The society would like to thank our MSP Nicola Sturgeon and Caroline Scott, her office manager, for their assistance in this process.

Read on for full statements from Network Rail and the Society.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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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Update on Network Rail’s proposed vegetation and tree works

This morning the Strathbungo Society received the welcome news that Network Rail’s  proposed tree works on the Glasgow – E.Kilbride line won’t start this weekend.  Nicola Sturgeon, our MSP, had earlier in the week secured agreement from Network Rail that they would meet with the Strathbungo Society.  We asked her then to clarify whether Network Rail would suspend any work until we had a chance to negotiate and she has received the following reply from the Network Rail Communications Manager:    “I have spoken to the project team and can advise that we won’t be doing any work for now on the stretch of railway between Nithsdale Road and Crossmyloof station.”
Continue reading

Network Rail new plans to destroy the trees along the railway

(Statement from Fiona Mackinnon on behalf of the Strathbungo Society)

Network Rail are planning to cut down every tree along the 11 miles of track between East Kilbride and Glasgow Central.  Their timetable starts in September i.e . now.  When the chainsaws and giant chippers plan to arrive to work all night in Strathbungo, we do not know.

The Chair, Treasurer and Secretary of the Society and a number of local residents went along on Monday  night to Network Rail’s ‘drop-in information’ session but came away shocked by the potential scale of destruction planned but also by the lack of detail from Network Rail about what they will do and when.  Most importantly there was no real explanation why.
Continue reading

Footbridge update

The Network Rail Project Manager has provided the Strathbungo Society with an update on the footbridge works and apologised for the delay.  The construction programme will now extend until 19th February 2019 and the footbridge will remain closed until then.

What’s happened is that significant structural defects, which had been hidden by many years of debris/gunge etc, were revealed during the process of cleaning and steelwork preparation.   Specifically, far more corrosion was found beneath the Durbar plate deck than predicted. The deck is double layered and it appears was simply over plated at some point in the past. Network Rail made allowances for the corrosion beneath the deck but not to anywhere near the extent they have uncovered. As a result they now need to remove and renew the entire deck.

The good thing is that corrosion has been caught before it got any worse.

Network Rail Drop In Tuesday 6th December

Network Rail will be holding a public drop-in event tomorrow, Tuesday 6th December 2016 in Queens Park Baptist Church Hall, 180 Queens Drive, Glasgow, G42 8QD from 3.30pm to 6.45pm. In attendance will be representatives from Network Rail and the Strathbungo Society, as well as their contractors, QTS, all of whom will be on hand to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about this work.

This is an opportunity to discuss

  • what will happen to vegetation outside your house on Moray Place when work starts in February
  • what replanting scheme, if any, you would like to see afterwards

We would really value your input. If you are a Moray Place resident, consider bringing a photo if you have particular concerns over vegetation opposite your house.

Queens Park Baptist Church Hall, 180 Queens Drive, 3.30pm to 6.45pm

Queens Park Baptist Church

Queens Park Baptist Church

Network Rail’s New Fence – Coming Soon!

Many will recall Network Rail’s intention to erect a high security fence along the edge of Moray Place, back in January 2015. Well after a lot of protest, historical research, and more latterly civilised discussion, with the assistance of the Strathbungo Society, Network Rail have a new proposal which appears much more sympathetic to affected residents. Attached below are a communication from the society, and a formal notification from Network Rail, delivered to Moray Place residents in the last week, setting out the plans, which are likely to go ahead in February.

One major change is that the new fence will now be set back approx 5 feet from the road edge (in line with the wall at one end, and the post & wire fence at the other end, of Moray Place), but that there will be considerable loss of vegetation installing the fence, including the majority of trees. This will leave a strip of land that is part Network Rail, and part residents’ property, but which Network Rail are happy for us to cultivate, within reason.

If you are a resident, the choice is yours – it’s your land – but there are some obvious choices

  • Retain what’s there, where practical – for instance the laurel planting at the Gardens end
  • Rip it up and start again – and do your own thing
  • Rip it up and start again – as part of a community planting scheme

There seems to be a lot of interest in the latter, which the Society would be glad to facilitate, and we are already looking into possible options, and funding sources. However we need your help and suggestions, especially if you would like to get involved yourself. Suggestions so far include a continuous scheme the length of Moray Place, anything but a continuous scheme (!), beech hedging, small trees such as Rowan, various shrubs, a seating area at the end of Marywood Square, and lovers’ seats; so one can watch the trains while their partner turns their back on them!

February isn’t far away, so please get in touch. See the documents for contact details, or comment here.

Andrew Downie, Fiona MacKinnon, Heather Alexander, Kevin Kane

for The Strathbungo Society

Society Communication to Moray Place Residents Nov 2016

Network Rail Communication to Moray Place Residents Nov 2016

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