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Author Topic: Plaque marks place in history for 1880s listed footbridge at Wokingham Station  (Read 8926 times)
Chris from Nailsea
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« on: November 09, 2010, 08:21:38 pm »

From the Wokingham Times:

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A railway footbridge has received the blue seal of approval from local historians and conservationists.

Wokingham Society unveiled the latest blue plaque in its network at Wokingham railway station^s footbridge in Oxford Road on Tuesday, October 19.

Blue plaques have been placed on buildings around the town over time by the Wokingham Society to recognise places of historic significance.

The footbridge was built in 1886 following two accidents at the level crossing in Barkham Road, including an incident where a young girl was knocked down by a goods train.

As a result, money was set aside for the project and it was built using an old stock of rails and sleepers.

At the time the railway, which came to Wokingham in 1849 running from Reading to Redhill, was run by the South Eastern Railway.

The bridge is Grade-II listed.

David Tinker, president of the Wokingham Society, said: ^It is a Wokingham landmark and regarded as one of the foremost examples of innovative industrial archaeology remaining in the town. The level crossing itself is still notorious as a traffic nightmare.^
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William Huskisson MP (Member of Parliament) was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
stuving
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2020, 11:41:33 pm »

Even when that was posted, there was talk about the bridge being in a poor state - not painted for ages, so rusting away, as well as other disintegrations. Yesterday I passed a huddle of NR» (Network Rail - home page) staff talking about doing things to the bridge, though coudn't overhear what things.

Well, it seems I missed the fact that NR put in a planning application (actually for listed building consent) for work to restore the bridge, as long ago as 23rd July. That was in the local papers, but only this week - from the "Wokingham" News:
Quote
National Rail applies to repair Wokingham station footbridge
By Leon Riccio @LeonRiccio News Reporter     9th September


NEWS that Wokingham Station's Victorian footbridge is to be repaired has been announced recently, to mixed responses from residents.

The footbridge, which has been standing at Wokingham Station for more than a century, is to be repaired, according to a recent planning application.

The application was received by the Wokingham Borough Council on July 23, and was submitted by Network Rail.

The application for the structure is currently in its consultation period, which will end this Friday, September 11.

Despite the news of the site's repairs, not all residents are so convinced the works will be handled as well as needed.

Cllr Rachel Bishop-Firth, Wokingham resident, said: "The footbridge at Wokingham station is unique in the country - it's a grade 2 listed Victorian structure made from old sleepers and rails.

"It's the only one of its kind still in use.

"The rails are now badly corroded, the woodwork needs attention and the bricks need repointing.

"The Wokingham Society, rail enthusiasts and I have all been campaigning for repairs for a number of years and we are really pleased to see that Network Rail have put in a planning application for work to be done on the bridge. ...

The consultation period ended today, and the application is number 2018130. The work proposed is to generally repair and replace the steel, wood, and masonry, and repaint in the "original colour" - though no-one knows what that was.

I had not realised that when it was last repaired in the 1980s some of the rails were replaced with new old ones. In the documentation there are a couple of old SER drawings, showing that it was originally either put up on the other side of the road, or that was intended but changed before erection. . And if you were wondering how that would fit in with the signal box, the current one had not been built - there was one on the station corner of the road, and another by the junction. There was also a gatekeeper''s cottage further from the road.

It's also clear that the impression often given - that it was knocked up by a couple of workmen out of rails they found lying about - is untrue. It was drawn up in the engineering office, and the curved rails would have been bent to radius using machined in the workshops.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2020, 10:35:37 am »

Let's hope it fares better than Taplow's. At least the line is already electrified.
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stuving
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2020, 11:14:07 am »

The inspection report (really just a few annotated diagrams) notes "100% section loss to a former cable service duct" - which is a bit mysterious. Is it a former cable - so the hole in the duct hardly matters - or a former duct, in which case "100% section loss" means it's not there any more?

Also "existing service trunking is in good condition". I should hope so too: it was only put there in 2016 to carry all the cables to the traffic lights on the south-east side. That's not a railway matter, of course, but you can see why running cables under the line is not desirable. That raises a further question: what services do sometimes run under the line at a level crossing? At this one, I know there is a Victorian foul sewer - they don't like to take long detours, and uninverted syphons are not much use for street drains. What else might there be?
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stuving
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2020, 11:06:01 am »

The planning application was refused, based on an officer's report, and without going to committee. The officer's assessment report complains about lack of details of the work (I suspect the answer to that is "it depends what we find when we take bits off") and citing an out of date version of the NPPF. And of course there's the plastic wood for the treads and decking - "inappropriate", and in any case the inspection report said they were in "fair condition". They even want to keep the soot, as "potential[ly] of
historic significance both physically and visually"!

So the ball's back in NR» (Network Rail - home page)'s park. And the councillors are bickering about why it wasn't called into committee (though obviously that would not have changed the decision).
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eightonedee
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« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2020, 12:16:31 pm »

Oh dear - the future shape of the country we live in is shaped by the planning system that produces decisions like this. And don't pin any hopes on the reforms the government is currently consulting on either. I recently viewed one of the top advisers on a video conference telling his audience that the "beauty" agenda is not concerned with external appearance........
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2020, 04:51:11 pm »

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the "beauty" agenda is not concerned with external appearance........
Of the politicians?
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stuving
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2020, 12:01:05 am »

The planning application was refused, based on an officer's report, and without going to committee. The officer's assessment report complains about lack of details of the work (I suspect the answer to that is "it depends what we find when we take bits off") and citing an out of date version of the NPPF. And of course there's the plastic wood for the treads and decking - "inappropriate", and in any case the inspection report said they were in "fair condition". They even want to keep the soot, as "potential[ly] of
historic significance both physically and visually"!

So the ball's back in NR» (Network Rail - home page)'s park. And the councillors are bickering about why it wasn't called into committee (though obviously that would not have changed the decision).

Well, Network Rail have taken some bits off to see what's there. I don't think this is called non-destructive testing.
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stuving
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2021, 10:54:55 pm »

This morning I got another of those "dear neighbour" letters from Network Rail, saying they were starting work today on the footbridge. Now, I already knew there was a further planning application, as there was a notice on the station, but that only went in a few days ago. And when I went out this afternoon, the bridge was closed and scaffolding was going up.

On the WBC site there is indeed a new application (and why, I ask myself, is there no linkage at all between related applications listed on there?). It says received 7/12/20 but registered only on 5/1/21 (for some reason), with a consultation open 6/1/21 to 4/2/21.  And the work runs 14/1/21 to 23/3/21 - how come?

Well, the work described looks pretty identical to what was proposed before, with just one big change - steps and decking in real hardwood rather than plastic imitation wood. As that was the only reason given for rejection, and the changes were done in consultation with the planners (and notably the heritage officer), I'm sure they are confident it will pass. But still ...

I did find what looks like an attempted explanation of this timing overlap, but I have no idea what it means. What do you think?
Quote
The works fall under Part 18 Prior Approval of the GPDO (2015) however due to the time restrictions with the works needing to be started and risk that approval for the Part 18 not being gained before the works start, a full planning application has been submitted to ensure consent is gained.

Incidentally, the contractors are (from the letter reference) Nationwide Engineering, STB, and "RAM Structures" (sic). Nationwide (of Amesbury) have just started a new framework contract for small works, and presumably are in charge. Ram Services Ltd (of Burnley) will I suspect be doing the paint - er, sorry, coatings. STB I'm not sure about, but someone is doing the scaffolding. However the only STB scaffolders I can find are in Singapore, which is a bit far even for NR» (Network Rail - home page)'s contracts people to go.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2021, 09:24:00 am »

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I did find what looks like an attempted explanation of this timing overlap, but I have no idea what it means. What do you think?
Quote
The works fall under Part 18 Prior Approval of the GPDO (2015) however due to the time restrictions with the works needing to be started and risk that approval for the Part 18 not being gained before the works start, a full planning application has been submitted to ensure consent is gained.

In plain English, I think that means "we don't think we need planning permission because there is an old private act of parliament allowing us to do the work and we simply need the authority to see and approve the plans (as a simple approval, not a planning approval). In case we are wrong we are making a planning application anyway".

I would guess the private act of parliament was whatever act permitted the line to be built in the 19th century. If it is very cold and wet tomorrow I might go on line to try to find it!
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stuving
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« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2021, 07:55:50 pm »

I won't have any pictures taken from the footbridge for a while - nor any of the fettlers at work on it either. It's been entirely Christoed! But not hermetically - there are holes you can see in through, so no doubt some of the paint dust will be able to get out. The wrappers were EnviroWrap, who also did both Tamar bridges (among other large objects). I'm not sure what competitors they have in this business (which I think is called environment protection and containment), but they could be in line to do the screens at Bristol Temple Meads.

All that means workers in full PPE, who will need somewhere to change and shower. So down by the car park two big grey cabins have appeared. One is from Welfare Hire (their Eco10 design), containing an office, kitchen and crew room, WC (Wiltshire Council (Unitary Authority)), and drying room. It's autonomous - no mains services at all. The other is anonymous, and it does have mains and water supplied - so that is presumably for taking off the PPE and cleaning up (the row of big red Biffa megabins too).

But the only drainage I can see for it is a pipe from the height of a basin drain to a surface water drain. So - assuming there are showers in there - I wonder what happens to that water; does go into a tank as it has to be carted away for decontamination?
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broadgage
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2021, 12:48:45 pm »

I suspect that water from showers would be considered low risk, and fit to be discharged into a sewer without any special treatment.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
stuving
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2021, 01:57:03 pm »

I suspect that water from showers would be considered low risk, and fit to be discharged into a sewer without any special treatment.

But, as in most car parks, there is no foul sewer to attach to - and on-one has been digging holes. Even a basin drain isn't meant to discharge as surface water, though I suspect it would be tolerated for a case like this.
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2021, 07:06:33 am »

Does Wokingham have a dual sewerage system (foul and storm)?
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broadgage
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2021, 02:15:56 pm »

Does Wokingham have a dual sewerage system (foul and storm)?

I do not know, but in some areas foul sewage and less dirty surface water go into the same system. This has the merit of simplicity with only one system of drains to maintain. The drawback is greater sewage treatment capacity needed.
In such circumstances shower water could be discharged into a surface water drain with little concern.

In other places, foul and surface water have seperated systems. Foul water is thoroughly treated before being discharged to a river or the sea.
Surface water is treated only basicly, or not at all, before discharge to sea or river.
Surface water in such cases should be regarded with some suspicion since it may contain a little foul matter. The odd WC (Wiltshire Council (Unitary Authority)) may have been incorrectly connected to a surface water drain. And of course dogs, horses, and exceptionaly humans, relieve themselves in the street with the waste ending up in the surface water.
Shower water should not be discharged to a surface water drain such circumstances, though it MIGHT be considered acceptable in the short term.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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