Published on : Tuesday, March 7, 2017
As part of the Crossrail West surface works, the footbridge was removed in three parts over two consecutive weekends.The third section of the bridge is of particular significance to the Great Western Society, as it is the location of the Society’s creation in 1961. The four founding members, who were schoolboys at the time, are said to have stood on the bridge in view of the steam trains in the old Southall depot and created the Great Western Society which aims to preserve the late Victorian/Edwardian railway network.
After its successful removal by crane, this span was hauled to the Didcot Railway Centre where it will eventually be displayed in a new exhibition at the museum.
Contractors Taylor Woodrow and Murphy worked closely together and arranged for the historic bridge to be hauled from Southall to its new home in Didcot and waived management fees to enable the project to happen.In March 2016, Ealing Council approved funding for a new cycle and pedestrian bridge, including lifts and ramps, at Merrick Road.
Andrew Durrant, Scheme Project Manager at Network Rail said: “’With all the work that Crossrail is doing to make a better railway for tomorrow, it’s sometimes easy to forget the treasures of yesterday. When the Great Western Society approached the project, at short notice, to ask that one of the spans be preserved in their museum at Didcot as an example of very fine late Victorian and early Edwardian engineering we were only too happy to accommodate their request. Special thanks go to our contractors, Taylor Woodrow and Murphy, who arranged for the span to be hauled to the Didcot Railway Centre to support railway heritage preservation schemes such as this.”
Rex Clarke, Senior Engineer at Taylor Woodrow said: “Given the age of the footbridge, a detailed structural assessment accounting for the deterioration of the span was carried out to safeguard its integrity as it was lifted off its support. The footbridge was removed within 24 hours, however much of the work was reliant on an 8.5-hour rail “possession” which provided a safe working environment for our team as the trains were not running. The time constraints were challenging, though the thorough planning paid off as all works were executed efficiently and safely.”