Category: Network Rail (Page 1 of 4)

Of bridges and Network Rail… an update

The Society has had the following communication from Network Rail:

Following successful demolition of the Nithsdale Road bridge deck, I wanted to update you on some aspects of the project taking place within the Strathbungo area.

Columns

During one of our previous discussions with the Strathbungo Society, the four columns under the road bridge were discussed, and how these could possibly be saved and re-utilised. We weren’t able to confirm the condition of the columns until the bridge deck demolition was carried out. Now that has been done, I can confirm that we were able to retain the columns in good condition.

We’ve had some interest from Caledonian Railway, but we are keen to establish if there is an appetite within the Strathbungo community to re-use these locally. If you have any ideas for local re-use, could you please let me know by the end of next week?

Note: please contact Jane Carolan (chair) at chair@strathbungo.co.uk if you have suggestions (or comment on this post).

Footbridge

As you will be aware, last spring we carried out a public vote for the design of the new footbridge between Moray Place and Darnley Road. Three artist impressions of bridge designs were given to the community, based on construction drawings of the bridge built at Aristotle Lane in Oxford. The vast majority of residents voted for Bridge A.

shows new bridge

The chosen bridge was taken forward through a detailed design process. We also took on board feedback around concerns raised about certain specific aspects of the bridge.  As part of the detailed design phase, the designs were adjusted accordingly to address these comments and concerns.

BRIDGE A DETAILED VISUALS

I’ve included detailed visuals of the bridge below, which include a few enhancements to the original images:

    • Height of top chord (curve) – the 3D visual showed parapets at a significant height (+2.3m).  This did not meet the aspirations of a simple, modest structure and the designers were asked to reduce the height to 1.8m (the parapet height standard over electrified lines).
    • Colour – the structure is black and white to reflect the colours used in the current footbridge.  It was previously shown as all grey.
    • Stair units – only the lower part of the stair unit is to be clad in stone.  The balustrades are now open steelwork and will match the railings found at Moray Place in profile and colour (black).
    • The entrance to either end of the bridge has been fanned out to address concerns of some residents for a more open approach to improve visibility for users.

The designs will now be submitted to the council planning team for Prior Approval.  At the same time, we are submitting a listed building application for the removal of the existing C-listed footbridge.

Network Rail’s latest bridge design proposal. Apologies for the low resolution, but that’s what they supplied. Click to enlarge.

Network Rail suggest a design based on Aristotle Lane, Oxford. There is some video of that bridge here. Note however they are proposing glass sides for the Strathbungo bridge.

 

Bye-bye Susie’s, bye-bye bridge

It was a busy weekend in the Bungo, bringing the largest changes to the neighbourhood in living memory.

The Booking Hall

Strathbungo Station opened in 1877. The booking hall had stood on the Nithsdale Road bridge ever since, even after the station’s closure in 1962. It finally disappeared last weekend (5th-7th August 2022), followed shortly after by the bridge itself.

The booking hall was a local landmark, and in recent years was better known as Susie’s shop, run by Joe Deo and his family until his recent retirement. Joe was out himself to see the work. You can read the history of Strathbungo Station on BygoneBungo.

Joe stands in front of the bridge, with fencing and demolition cranes behind

Joe Deo, former proprietor of Susie’s shop at the demolition

The Bridge

Crane lifting girders off the Nithsdale Road bridge

The bridge removal was required to allow electrification of the railway line. It was a major civil engineering undertaking and along with works at other locations on the line, had to be completed in one weekend to minimise disruption to the line. Many will have seen the huge crane employed to remove the steel girders of the old bridge. The exercise seemed to go without a hitch, although I have been told it did sever the connection between the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and several important national IT systems over the weekend – in diverting essential services over the temporary bridge on Moray Place, someone missed a cable somewhere.

The girders for the new bridge are due to be installed this weekend, so expect to see another large crane in the area. Meanwhile modifications have been made to the footbridge to allow step free access for the months that the Nithsdale Road bridge is being reconstructed. Sadly the footbridge will go too in the Spring, and rumours are that no one has yet been found to rescue it from the scrap heap.

Local photographer Nic Gordon recorded the events, and more pictures can be seen on his website.

Tree felling & Works Depot

View from footbridge showing a large section of trees being felled

Felling of trees in progress on Darnley Road. Credit: Nic Gordon

Network Rail also arrived with chain saws and conducted extensive tree felling on the Darnley Road side of the tracks which caused some alarm and no little environmental destruction, especially as no warning was given about this aspect of the project. It has been difficult to find out what this was all about, and one Twitter user was given a generic response about tree clearance to allow gantry installation which clearly didn’t fit the bill, but we have finally got some detail from Network Rail representatives. They intend to take down a section of the stone wall and use this area for track access and a depot during the works, and will (hopefully) reinstate things once they are done. There are also issues around the presence of Japanese knotweed.

As you know, the primary work in the Strathbungo area for the last few months has been around the bridge at Nithsdale Road and nearby footbridge. Since April we have also been undertaking work along the length of the route from Barrhead to install foundations for the overhead lines, something you had previously sought clarity on following our notification letter in April, specifically around the type of piling this would involve. With the foundation work now reaching the Strathbungo area, this has brought with it some accompanying activity required in order to deliver the work. I’m sorry this wasn’t made clear in our letter in April.

Upcoming work for this activity includes:

15-19 Aug – Dayshift removal of wall section and installation of drop kerb.

20 Aug – Dayshift commencing of site clearance and excavation, including stump removal.

21-26 Aug – Day and nightshift civil works, including delivery of stone, ahead of construction of compound surface.

28-30 Aug – Installation of compound surface.

31 Aug – Dayshift work involving final site walkthrough of compound.

The construction of the compound involves removing a section of the boundary wall, retaining the existing copes, and installing a concrete drop kerb. This will involve the use of an excavator and concrete wagon with small work tools. Once complete, an excavator and dumper truck will be in operation within the de-vegetated area to dig out the compound area, and all materials, soil etc will be stockpiled on site. No soil material will be leaving the site. We do not envision vibrations from these machines impacting on surrounding properties.

From an environmental perspective, the entire area is confirmed as having knotweed contamination which is why no soil will be removed from site. The dumper truck and excavator will remain in the contaminated zone, and will be fully cleaned and inspected before leaving site to ensure they are not contaminated with knotweed. All operatives working within the site will be required to undertake a full boot and PPE wash and inspection when leaving site. A knotweed membrane will be installed for the full extent of the compound area, and a quarantine zone around the stockpiled soil materials. A weekly inspection of the compound surface will take place, but as the growing season for knotweed has now passed, there won’t be any encroachment growth out of the quarantined area. As we approach summer 2023, which is next knotweed growing season, an increased inspection regime will be implemented, primarily inspecting the compound surface for any signs of penetration of the knotweed membrane and growth outwith the quarantine zone.

In terms of noise, this will be at its highest in the final week while we are laying the new stone for the compound surface, which will sit on top of the knotweed membrane. This specific activity takes place nightshift 28-30 Aug, however earth moving machines will be in operation for the duration of the civil works.

In terms of the knotweed treatment plan, this will not commence until the 2023 growing season and involves a spray herbicide over two sessions suitably spaced apart, with a further inspection towards the end of the growing season to review the effectiveness of the treatment. This treatment plan will continue for the next 2 to 3 years. Your concerns have also been passed to our knotweed specialist regarding any impact the herbicides may have on other plants in the surrounding area.

In terms of future environmental management plans for the area, it is intended that the top compound surface will be inspected and removed along with the knotweed membrane. Depending on the results of the inspection, these materials will likely be classified as waste and treated accordingly. A review of the stockpiled soil material will be undertaken to determine if it should be left in place I.e if there has been suitable wilding taken place. The wall will be reinstated with matching stone, rather than engineering brick, and opportunities for biodiversity improvement assessed. The Network Rail environmental team will be involved throughout this process.

We don’t have specific dates for the foundation and stanchion installation, but it should take place at some point between 3-30 Sep.

Network Rail Bridge Replacements

There’s an update on Network Rail in the newsletter, out today.

Furthermore Cllr Molyneux has received an acknowledgement of the importance of incorporating provision for active travel in the redesign of the roadbridge. While the structure is the responsibility of Network Rail, what is laid down on top of it is the responsibility of the council.

MESSAGE SENT ON BEHALF OF HEAD OF TRANSPORT STRATEGY, NEIGHBOURHOODS, REGENERATION AND SUSTAINABILITY

Dear Cllr Molyneux

Further to your enquiry dated the 1 February 2022 I write to provide you with a final update.

The Nithsdale Road Bridge is a key route identified in the proposed City Network; one of the major interventions set out in the Active Travel Strategy. Due to the railway there are no viable alternative options for a west-east link in this area. The route would act to connect the South City Way with the proposed extension to the South West City Way and has been identified as a likely priority project in the Interim Delivery Plan for the City Network.

The area surrounding Nithsdale Road Bridge is in the second tranche of Liveable Neighbourhoods which has now secured funding. Liveable Neighbourhoods will work with the communities to establish projects in the area based around four key thematics: Local Town Centres, Everyday Journeys, Active Travel, and Streets for People.

The works on and around the Nithsdale Road Bridge provide opportunity to deliver for both the Active Travel Strategy and Liveable Neighbourhoods by providing protected cycle space and making the route across the bridge more attractive and welcoming for pedestrians.

Head of Transport Strategy
Neighbourhoods, Regeneration and Sustainability

Network Rail – Bridge replacement

Network Rail have provided details of the major bridge works planned for 2022-23 at Nithsdale Road, including demolition of the old Station building, replacement of the bridge, and subsequent replacement of the footbridge.

You are invited to take part with an engagement exercise with Network Rail. This will be online, and you need to book a slot. Exactly what form this will take isn’t clear to us yet.

The Society emailed Network Rail with some of our concerns late last year after the AGM, but have not had a reply. Some of the issues are discussed in a previous blog post.

Access to the consultation is here:

Scotland’s Railway

There is a timetable of road closures, etc, and more information in the letters circulated to residents.

Network Rail letter

Network Rail letter p2

Imminent Network Rail works

We have received the following notification of works this weekend and next week through the local community council and Cllr MacLeod:

Please see below works scheduled in the Strathbungo area that will be undertaken by BAM Nuttall:

  • We will be undertaking ground investigation works at Nithsdale Road bridge on Sat 20th (night shift) and from Mon 22nd – Fri 26th (day shifts).
  • During the single night shift on Saturday 20th and Monday 22nd dayshift, work will involve digging trial holes using a power unit and generator that will be situated on the railway under the bridge. We anticipate a medium level of noise created from the generator, however, please note we have arranged for acoustic sound barriers to mitigate this as much as possible.
  • Dayshift work from Mon 22nd – Fri 26th will be very low impact, with no traffic management or restrictions to the public.
  • All works planned are planned for completion on Fri 26th November 2021.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Network Rail using their 24-hour helpline on 03457 11 41 41 or via their website at www.networkrail.co.uk/contactus.

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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