From the Swindon Advertiser
Railway history is listed for posterity
The legacy of the Great Western main line will live on after more than 40 structures were given protected status by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
They include the Roman Road Bridge in Ermin Street, and the stone building on Swindon station platform, which have both been given Grade II listed status.
English Heritage’s project to safeguard historic railway buildings, bridges and tunnels along the line, has resulted in 35 new listings and seven structures already listed being upgraded.
Stretching from London Paddington to Temple Meads in Bristol, construction on the route began in 1836 to the designs of the father of railway engineering, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. “The Box tunnel in Wiltshire, one of the most extensive and famous of the pioneering Great Western Tunnels has been listed at grade II, while the Roman Road Bridge – of an unusual rounded arch design thought to be a conscious reference to antiquity by Brunel – has received the same status.
The Dauntsey and Hunts Mill road bridges and the bridge near Swindon Road, part of a cluster dating from between 1839 and 1940, are being listed at Grade II as are the River Avon Viaduct, from the 1840s, and the entrance portals of the Chipping Sodbury tunnel and its six ventilator shafts.
Emily Gee, head of designation at English Heritage, said: “This scale of consultation on designation cases is unusual for English Heritage and we were delighted with the thoughtful responses we received from railway history experts, local authorities and other heritage bodies. “I am also impressed by Network Rail ’s commitment to respecting the special structures in their care.”.
Patrick Hallgate, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “The Great Western railway is undergoing the biggest investment since it was built in order to deliver faster and more reliable journeys for passengers. “The results of the consultation , provide an important step forward in modernising this rail route. It enables us to make informed decisions and, critically, protect sensitive structures while delivering major improvement work.”
Earlier this year, English Heritage – with the support from Network Rail – held a consultation on the history and descriptions of 50 buildings and structures in and around Maidenhead, Reading, Oxford, Newbury, Bath and Bristol. The consultation process involved a range of organisations and English Heritage worked closely with Network Rail and its professional advisers, and consulted local authorities, the Victorian Society and amenity groups like the Railway Heritage Trust, Steam Museum and National Railway Museum.