Alton Footbridge Removed

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by AGF, 26 Mar 2020 at 00:50.

  1. AGF

    AGF Member

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    I’ve had a little look through and didn’t see a thread on this, apologies if I missed it.

    A week or two back the old wooden footbridge at Alton station was removed. It had been boarded up for some time since a new modern alternative was installed with lifts.

    There has however been a bit of controversy as a group were planning to preserve the bridge as it is alleged to be a one of a kind design and is over 100 years old. Network Rails contractors lifted the main span of the bridge out and handed it over to the preservation group but proceeded to demolish the stairs which they say were rotten. Unfortunately the preservation group were under the impression they were getting the stairs too so are upset at Network Rail, who maintain the deal was only for the main span.

    Needless to say the platform looks a bit of a mess at the moment, particularly on the platform 2 side as the staircase was built into the other structures, so there’s a pretty obvious gap right now.
     
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  3. Dunfanaghy Rd

    Dunfanaghy Rd Member

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    The span is now stored at premises near Beech. I, personally, am glad to see it gone. The financial numbers being bandied about a couple of years ago, when the 'Friends of Alton Station' started agitating for its retention were eye watering. Its condition has been poor for a long time, in spite of repairs. I can remember walking across it 20-odd years ago and seeing mushrooms growing out of the panelling inside the span. It would become a money pit that would eventually break FoAS.
    FoAS said 'Its the last L&SWR wooden footbridge in existence.' My reply 'There's a good reason for that.'
    Pat
     
  4. AGF

    AGF Member

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    Haha - personally I’m not saddened by its departure - it was tatty and I’ve not lived in Alton long enough to be shouting about its heritage, but I do feel there are better things locally which could be preserved!
     
  5. Kettledrum

    Kettledrum Member

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    Surely better to construct replica stairs? - Given how rotten the steps are reputed to have been
     
  6. AGF

    AGF Member

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    That’s now the plan I believe but some are kicking up a stun about authenticity it would seem. The reality is they’d have probably needed to replace the bulk of the stairs anyway, they were probably just a bit rattled that the contractors did it instead!
     
  7. MotorcycleAlan

    MotorcycleAlan Member

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    Pictures and full story here:

    Anger at 'smashed up' Alton Victorian railway bridge stairs - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-51852823

     
    Last edited by a moderator: 27 Mar 2020 at 06:59
  8. Dunfanaghy Rd

    Dunfanaghy Rd Member

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    Of course the great unanswered question remains - where does it go if (big if) FoAS ever rebuild it. Network Rail won't allow it to return to its former site. I have heard that the Watercress Line won't have it either, probably true. It is looking like a sorry tale of misplaced enthusiasm.
    Pat
     
  9. AGF

    AGF Member

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    Agreed, I believe FoAS still think the Watercress Line will take it, but don’t all their stations have bridges anyway? I think it will probably just end up rotting in a field somewhere.
     
  10. kevin_roche

    kevin_roche Member

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    I remember using this bridge every day on my commute home from London. Quaint but tatty 20 years ago. Maybe it will end up like Trigger's broom, new steps, new walls, new roof....

    Where is it? Does anyone know. I might use my daily walk to take a look.
     
  11. Dunfanaghy Rd

    Dunfanaghy Rd Member

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    It's at the Brant Storage yard on the A339, just north of the turning up to Beech.
    Pat
     
  12. Dunfanaghy Rd

    Dunfanaghy Rd Member

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    Yes, Medstead, Ropley and Alresford all have footbridges (in fact Ropley has two, including the 'Harry Potter' bridge). And they are all built of woodworm-free steel!
    Pat
     
  13. AGF

    AGF Member

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    So it does seem like a lost cause. I’m all for preserving history but I’m struggling with this one... I suppose the only option would be to have it adapted so as it links the forecourt with platform 3 offering direct access to the Watercress Line (for those able to use steps of course) but that would still require Network Rail input and I don’t think they are too keen. That aside to adapt it surely goes against authenticity which is usually a core value in preservation... so I don’t think this ideas a goer... so the big question is, other than a skip, where can it go?
     
  14. Chris M

    Chris M Member

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    Pilning probably wouldn't say no...
     
  15. InOban

    InOban Established Member

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    Surely not into a skip. A woodburning stove.
     
  16. AGF

    AGF Member

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    :lol: That is genuinely the first thing to make me actually laugh this week! So thank you :)
     
  17. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    The Watercress line have few coal burning stoves that could handle the task with a good clean afterwards!
     
  18. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    The moral of the story, yet again, is agree clearly and openly about who does what in these situations, rather than just being "under the impression that" the stairs were to be retained.
     
  19. AGF

    AGF Member

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    Agreed, one would have thought given the costs involved a clear contract/ agreement would have been put in writing... even if it’s just letters or emails.
     
  20. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    If I had a massive garden I'd take the bridge, stairs an all. Alas I don't.

    It would serve no practical purpose but at least I'd own something old belonging to a railway station.
     
  21. kevin_roche

    kevin_roche Member

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    That is walking distance from my previous house but its a bit too far from my current home. I'll have to wait until the lockdown is all over before I go and take a look.
     
  22. AGF

    AGF Member

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    Access into your neighbours garden?!:p Not sure why you’d need it but the bridge would allow it! Actually given the span, could reach next door but one!
     
  23. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Perhaps diagonally would work.

    If the stairs were rhat important, I'm surprised no one tried to get them listed or did they?
     
  24. AGF

    AGF Member

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    From what I understand, the group tried to get the whole structure listed more than once but failed in their bid to do so.
     
  25. Mordac

    Mordac Established Member

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    That really says something considering the heritage bodies would list a ham sandwich is it stood still long enough.
     
  26. AGF

    AGF Member

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    Yeah in honesty I’m not 100 percent sure why the bids failed, but I think there was opposition from Network Rail who just wanted it gone.
     
  27. Enthusiast

    Enthusiast Member

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    I've seen this structure a number of times on my visits to MHR (I usually stay at Alton). Quite frankly, regardless of the stairs, it is a pile of firewood (and it's probably too damp even for that). I'm surprised NR had allowed it to remain for so long as it must be in quite a parlous state. I'm all for the retention of stuff that can be properly preserved and either used or displayed. This footbridge won't. It will rot away in a field somewhere but at least it won't collapse on to a waiting train for Waterloo, which it looked as if it may have done at any time. Money wasted.
     
  28. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot Member

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    The only use the footbridge had was to remind me where the tpws grids are :lol:
     
  29. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    Some people need to recognise that - no matter how much we might like to -- it is simply impossible to save everything that we feel is interesting / special, etc.
     
  30. Foggycorner

    Foggycorner Member

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    I like the comment about wood burning stoves would that be the one's mounted on wheels with a boiler attached
     
  31. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Yes:lol::lol:
     

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