Railway bridge near Wigan has had 7.5 ton weight restriction recently added

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Pancho, 7 Jan 2020.

  1. Pancho

    Pancho New Member

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    Good evening.

    There is a railway bridge near to my home; it is in a poor state of repair.

    There is a single track over it and the road to either side is unadopted.

    Network Rail have recently placed signs at either side of the bridge limiting it to vehicles up to seven and a half tons; this is causing problems to local residents as deliveries are now restricted.

    For example, we can no longer have deliveries from builders wagons.

    Are Network Rail responsible for maintaining the bridge, so that larger vehicles may access it?

    The signs have just come out of the blue with no consultation with local residents.

    The dustbin wagon is still crossing the bridge and I'm sure it is overweight.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 8 Jan 2020
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  3. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    If the road is unadopted then the first step for the residents is to find out who owns the road and what rights the owners of properties served by the road have to use it. That information ought to be in your deeds, but it isn't uncommon for there to be no positive evidence of ownership of an unadopted road.

    The second thing you'll need to do is to find out why the bridge was originally put there. If it was provided when the railway was originally built then there is a possibility it was provided as part of an agreement with the landowner(s) whose land was needed to build the railway. These are sometimes called Accommodation Bridges or Occupation Bridges.

    If you are lucky there will be an agreement that says the railway company is responsible for maintaining the bridge. If you are very lucky it may include some form of phrasing about the suitability of the bridge for certain types of load which would include lorries of a size which hadn't been invented at the time.

    But it sounds like this is something you will need to consult a solicitor over. If the bridge is the only means of access to the properties then it will impact on their future saleability (and value) if you cannot get lorries to them. It is the kind of thing a competent solicitor would point out to a prospective purchaser (e.g. were you planning on having a removal lorry?)

    If you add up the potential combined loss to all the residents then it is easy to see it being something you need definitive legal advice over, rather than friendly comments from internet folks.

    I'd also suggest not using the same solicitor you used to purchase your property. Normally they ought to have advised you of the risks associated with an unadopted road and the railway bridge (perhaps they did?) and if they didn't there may be circumstances where you could make a claim against them. Going to a different solicitor will enable you to ask for advice on that as well.

    I'm not a lawyer. The above should be taken as general comments about the situation rather than any form of advice.
     
  4. Pancho

    Pancho New Member

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    Thankyou for your reply. Much appreciated.
     
  5. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    They may well have special dispensation. You would need to consult the traffic order that would have been registered with your council.
     
  6. Gathursty

    Gathursty Established Member

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    I'm in Wigan too. I can't think of many places where your bridge is. Can you tell me what bridge it is or on what line it is?

    I imagine the WCML/Liverpool branch may be trickier to deal with as they are electrified.

    My hunch is you are on about Brook?? Lane in Pemberton as that's the only place I can think of.
     
  7. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    If the road is unadopted then there is no need for a traffic order and the local highway/traffic authority probably don't know anything about it.

    It is also quite possible the local council refuse service are unaware of the restriction. If they find out then they are likely to stop collecting from the kerbside (some councils refuse to collect along unadopted roads full stop) in which case the residents would have to take their rubbish/recycling to the nearest point the council are willing to collect from. If it were me then informing the council would not be top of my priority list.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'm also intrigued as to where this is. I can't think of any single track around Wigan, the Kirkby branch is double except between Rainford and Kirkby.
     
  9. Shaw S Hunter

    Shaw S Hunter Established Member

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    The OP said that the bridge has a single track over it which is also where the weight restriction is applied ie it's a narrow road bridge over a railway line of unspecified type. It could just as easily apply to Cemetery Road over the WCML.
     
  10. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    I think the single track the OP refers to is the road rather than the railway. If it is unadopted then it will be some form of private road that the public won't normally use (except perhaps as a public footpath). Gathursty could be right, but I guess the OP might prefer it if we don't speculate too much about where they live.
     
  11. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I was going on the "the road either side is unadopted" as opposed to "a bridge on an unadopted road". If the bridge is also unadopted then yes, you are correct and there won't be a traffic order.
     
  12. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    I think it looks as though you’re missing a “probably not” in the above, before include?
    I’ve seen canal bridges which have fairly old signs saying something along the lines of ‘this bridge is only suitable for the normal traffic of the district’. Another definition not suited for long term use...
     
  13. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    You make a good point about the canal bridge swt_passenger, but the way I worded that part of my post was intentional, although perhaps not totally clear.

    What I meant was the OP would be very lucky if there is an agreement and it says something about the type of load and that the load covers the size of modern vehicles.

    If there is an agreement regarding access rights but it is silent on the point of what kind of access (vehicle type) then the only way to resolve the issue may be to let a court decide, but in the absence of specifics this can be difficult and expensive.

    If the agreement only says pedestrians (and perhaps handcarts) then it would be disappointing, but could save the hassle and expense of going to court with a hopeless case.

    A phrase like "the normal traffic of the district" (I've seen similar before) at least gives the lawyers something to work with. There are precedents and cases where these points have already been argued, and possibly can be argued further. E.g. you might be able to make a reasonable case that "the normal traffic of the district" should include refuse vehicles of the kind the council normally uses.

    A case I remember reading about (not a railway one) used the words "loaded wagons". At the time the land was used for farming and the intended meaning of "wagon" was the horse-drawn thing hay was loaded onto. But it was decided the absence of a specific definition of "wagon" in the agreement allowed it to be interpreted as including the modern equivalent lorry.
     

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