Victorian bridge will not be saved

Roy Clarke and Barbara Whitlock next to the railway bridge over School Lane, Farington Moss
Roy Clarke and Barbara Whitlock next to the railway bridge over School Lane, Farington Moss
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A Victorian railway bridge is to be replaced with a new structure despite the concerns of local residents.

Network Rail has been given permission by South Ribble Council to replace the bridge in School Lane, Farington Moss, because of its age and poor condition.

The organisation said a replacement would ensure the safe running of the network, but questions were raised by local residents and Farington Parish Council over the work, which they claim would mean the loss of important Victorian engineering work.

Roy Clarke, of Chadwick Gardens, made a representation to South Ribble Council asking that Network Rail “honour those Victorian engineers who gave us the world railways,” after his research showed a bridge had been at the site since 1835.

He called on Network Rail to split the cast iron parapet into two sections and incorporate the panels onto the side of the new, active span.

The clerk of Farington Parish Council also wrote to the council stating: “Although we understand Network Rail has the authority to work on their bridges, we would ask that the balustrade off the redundant bridge could be fastened to one side of the new bridge to improve the appearance and to retain part of the Victorian ironwork.”

A Network Rail spokesman said the requests could not be carried out and added: “To secure the future of rail services along this line and to uphold our commitment to run a safe, efficient railway we need to replace the rail bridge over School Lane as the structure is extremely old and in poor condition.

“Having investigated different options at this site, the age, condition and design of the bridge means a refurbishment of the existing structure is not possible. We are planning to replace the bridge with a new structure in the autumn.”