Longton Railway Bridge An Open Letter

Longton Businessman Jon Beech has contacted Pits n Pots asking us to publish his letter about Longton Railway Bridge.

There was a letter published in The Sentinel recently about Longton Bridge by Barrie Roberts. I have written to the Editor in response,

I agree that the railway bridge’s poor condition and appearance is certainly of great frustration to the local citizens and is also very detrimental to the Town of Longton’s future regeneration.

However, the Tyneside bridges he refers to are unlike ours in that they are highways structures and owned by their respective councils. In contrast, the Longton Bridge is owned by Network Rail, a private company and its maintenance is subject to its own national policies, which apparently exclude any requirement for a reasonable appearance!

I am aware that the City Council, and our own MP Rob Flello, have repeatedly strived to convince Network Rail and other influential bodies that the condition and the appearance of this bridge is most certainly not of a satisfactory standard ““ particularly given its central location in the heart of a major town such as Longton. I believe Network Rail has claimed that the cost of the Bridge’s remediation would be around £750 thousand and that it would only be prepared to contribute a small amount of this fee itself ! !. The Company also strictly restricts anyone else except its own contractors from undertaking this work, so there is limited scope for reducing the cost by using volunteers for example.

In his letter Barrie implies a common assumption that our City suffers from poor attitude and hope. As local people, perhaps we can demonstrate that we suffer from neither and by supporting Rob Flello and the Council’s efforts to convince Network Rail of the importance of improving the appearance of this iconic structure which incidentally is 30 years older than the Titanic!. I would suggest it is time to dispel this apathy myth and at the very least we the citizens of this city get together a petition headed by our local mp Rob Flello and supported by the city council to be submitted to its regulating body, the Office of Rail Regulation. Would anyone like to help me in co-ordinating such a petition?

Jon Beech, Longton

We have a long history of discussing Longton Railway Bridge here on Pits n Pots and it is one of Warrens’ favourite subjects. What do you think, should we just accept that the bridge will not be painted or should we start a campaign to try and shame Network Rail, in to spending less than £1million on refurbishing the bridge which is a gateway in to one of our towns?

To put £1 Million in to perspective, that is 1/60 of the reported overspend on the luxury Kings Cross offices for Network Rail. That is £60 Million that will never be seen by the public and has no benefit to the travelling public what so ever.