Posts Tagged ‘railways’

Call for action as another bus strikes Parkway railway bridge

Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019 at 11:44 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a number 19A bus jammed under Bristol Parkway railway bridge on 10th September 2019.

Stoke Gifford councillor Brian Allinson has repeated his demand for a separate pedestrian and cyclist tunnel to be constructed alongside Parkway railway bridge following another vehicle strike incident.

The bridge is actually formed of two separate structures, a steel deck bridge to the Hatchet Road side and a brick arch bridge to the Brierly Furlong side.

While the steel deck bridge has constant height across the carriageway, the brick arch bridge has a lower clearance, both in the centre of the road and more so towards each side.

As well as the usual warning signs on and before the bridge, lines painted in the road are intended to remind drivers of high vehicles that they need to move towards the centre of the road when passing under the structure.

An incident in December 2018 saw the whole roof of a double decker bus sheared off under the bridge. There were no passengers on board the bus at the time, and the driver was reported to be “unhurt but shocked”. Fortunately, there were also no pedestrians passing along the narrow footways under the bridge; if there had been, the outcome might have been much more serious.

The recent incident, on 10th September, saw a First Bristol number 19A bus become jammed under the bridge because the driver had failed to move the vehicle towards the centre of the road where the clearance is greater. There were no reported injuries.

In addition to the dangers posed by bridge strikes, Cllr Allinson says the narrow footways under the bridge put pedestrians and cyclists at unacceptable risk on a daily basis.

Speaking at a meeting of Stoke Gifford Parish Council, Cllr Allinson said he was aware that plans for a parallel pedestrian tunnel at the site had been drawn up some years ago when the cost was estimated at £10m but following the recent electrification of the railway line this had risen to £20m.

More: South Glos Council is "assessing options" for the bridge »

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Deck of new accessible footbridge installed

Posted on Friday 10th May 2019 at 10:02 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of the deck of the new footbridge being lifted into position by a crane

The deck of a new accessible footbridge at Patchway Station was hoisted into position by a giant crane over the Easter weekend, during a four-day closure of the railway.

The previous footbridge needed to be replaced because it had insufficient clearance from the new overhead wires which are being installed as part of the multi-billion pound Great Western Mainline (GWML) electrification programme.

The new footbridge will be fully accessible for wheelchair users as it will incorporate lifts at each end, the shafts for which can be seen in the photo (above).

A temporary footbridge was installed at the station last year, allowing it to continue to function while the old bridge was being dismantled and the new one installed.

The design of the new bridge has resulted in the loss of one of three existing disabled parking spaces at the station. Officers at South Gloucestershire Council deemed this to be acceptable as it is “more than offset by the improvements to overall accessibility through the provision of lifts”.

Network Rail has said the new footbridge will be open for passengers “by the summer”.

Other work carried out during the Easter closure included the installation of more overhead wires between Patchway and the Severn Tunnel, along with drainage and wiring work inside the two Patchway tunnels.

Further weekend engineering works are planned on the line between June and October.

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Photo: The deck of the new bridge is lifted into position by a crane. [Credit: Network Rail]

This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on page 27). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Parkway bridge strike brings renewed calls for pedestrian tunnel

Posted on Tuesday 4th December 2018 at 9:55 pm by SH (Editor)

Double decker bus pictured after having its roof sheared off under the Parkway railway bridge. The roof of a bus lies in the carriageway under the Parkway railway bridge following a bridge strike incident.

An incident in early November in which the roof of a double decker bus was sheared off as it passed under the Hatchet Road railway bridge near Parkway Station has brought renewed calls for a pedestrian subway to be created alongside the bridge.

The bus involved in the collision is understood to have been hired by GWR to transport passengers between Parkway and Temple Meads during a planned three-week railway closure.

There were no passengers on board the bus at the time, and the driver was reported to be “unhurt but shocked”. Fortunately, there were also no pedestrians passing along the narrow footways under the bridge; if there had been, the outcome might have been much more serious (see Cllr Brian Allinson’s column on page 20 of our December magazine).

In 2013, South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) agreed to commission Network Rail to investigate options for improving pedestrian safety at the bridge, since which time there have been no further announcements.

In response to an enquiry from the Journal, an SGC spokesperson said:

“We recognise the need to improve the environment for pedestrians and cyclists at Bristol Parkway’s western access and therefore a subway for pedestrians and cyclists through the embankment to the east of the railway bridge is a strongly held aspiration.”

“The work agreed by a council committee in September 2013 has been undertaken by Network Rail. This has involved the completion of feasibility and outline designs for a subway, and we also subsequently provided additional funding for ground investigations to be carried out on and near the railway embankment to help provide more certainty for future stages of work.”

“The work undertaken has shown us that the construction of the subway would be a very complex scheme due to the close proximity of the railway above. We are considering a number of potential funding mechanisms for the subway delivery and as this is ongoing we are not yet able to comment on possible delivery timescales.”

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This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal news magazine (on page 3). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Three-week railway closure set to cause disruption for residents and passengers

Posted on Wednesday 12th September 2018 at 9:00 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a 110-tonne Kirow crane laying track near Bristol Parkway.

Residents living near the railway lines that run through the Stokes are being warned to expect an intensification in potentially noisy and disruptive maintenance activity as the project to electrify the Great Western mainline enters a critical phase this autumn.

The railway through Bristol Parkway will be closed between 15th September and 6th October inclusive, and again on the weekend of 13th/14th October. No trains will run via Bristol Parkway during these periods.

A Network Rail spokesperson said:

“This phase of the upgrade includes the installation of the overhead line equipment (OLE) used to hold the wires for electrification, and we will be putting up masts and wires over these three weeks in the Bristol Parkway area, from Winterbourne viaduct, through Bristol Parkway Station, up to Little Stoke, and then along the Filton East Curve.”

During these three weeks, trains will still be running, but they will be using diversionary routes. Rail replacement bus and coach services will be in place for some journeys.

Great Western Railway services between London Paddington and South Wales and Cross Country services between Bristol Temple Meads and Cheltenham will call at Patchway instead of Bristol Parkway.

Replacement bus services will link Bristol Parkway, Patchway, Yate and Filton Abbey Wood.

The three-week closure follows similar upgrade work last year, which included building a fourth platform at Bristol Parkway, extending the existing three platforms, and upgrading the track layout in the Parkway area to improve reliability and increase capacity. These upgrades will enable passengers to experience the benefits of Great Western Railway’s new fleet of electric trains, including more frequent services and reduced journey times.

More: Information for rail passengers and local residents »

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