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“Please help me persuade East Midlands Trains to help to get the railway bridge at Longton, Stoke complete eyesore.” – Austin Hannaby

Description

Austin Hannaby

What are the chances of ever getting the rail bridge at Longton painted? It is a complete eyesore. The bridge is a prominent feature of the town and although I am 70 years old I can never remember this bridge ever being painted.
Network Rail say they cannot carry out cosmetic repairs and can only act when the bridge is structurely unsafe. Does this mean that the Forth Bridge is structurely not safe as this is constantly being painted?
I know that Longton bridge is not the Forth, Tyne or even Tower Bridge but it is a feature of the town and surely worth a lick of paint if only to brighten the town of Longton up.
I also know that I am not the only person to complain about the state of the bridge.
Also as an adoptee of Longton Railway Station I do know that East Midlands trains have improved the station beyond all recognition to what it was before they took the line over, its just a pity that the bridge looks so neglected.

Austin Hannaby.

Problem History

  • 1 Austin Hannaby reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 19:29 29 Apr 2012
  • 2 Austin Hannaby wrote to East Midlands Trains close 19:29 29 Apr 2012

    Here is the letter that Austin Hannaby wrote.

    Longton Rail Bridge

    What are the chances of ever getting the rail bridge at Longton painted? It is a complete eyesore. The bridge is a prominent feature of the town and although I am 70 years old I can never remember this bridge ever being painted.
    Network Rail say they cannot carry out cosmetic repairs and can only act when the bridge is structurely unsafe. Does this mean that the Forth Bridge is structurely not safe as this is constantly being painted?
    I know that Longton bridge is not the Forth, Tyne or even Tower Bridge but it is a feature of the town and surely worth a lick of paint if only to brighten the town of Longton up.
    I also know that I am not the only person to complain about the state of the bridge.
    Also as an adoptee of Longton Railway Station I do know that East Midlands trains have improved the station beyond all recognition to what it was before they took the line over, its just a pity that the bridge looks so neglected.

    Austin Hannaby.

  • 3 East Midlands Trains Feedback responded to Austin Hannaby close 19:31 29 Apr 2012
    Thank you for your feedback. This has been forwarded to the Customer
    Relations team at East Midlands Trains. If you have requested a reply, we
    hope to get back to you within the next 10 working days. You'll definitely
    receive a response within 20 working days though, as per our Passenger's
    Charter.

    This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the East Midlands Trains IT Department on 44 (0) 161 219 4331.

    Company Name: East Midlands Trains Limited
    Registered Address: Friars Bridge Court, 41-45 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NZ
    Registered Number: 5340682

    This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by MessageLabs for the presence of computer viruses.
  • 4 Get in Touch responded to Austin Hannaby close 09:18 03 May 2012
    Ref: 320223

    Dear Austin Hannaby

    Thank you for your email regarding the bridge at Longton station, I am
    unaware of any plans to paint the bridge.

    The rail infrastructure is owned and maintained by Network rail; they can
    be contacted on [email address]

    Thank you for taking the time to get in touch.

    Kind regards

    Nara Burne
    Customer Relations Manager

    Tel: 08457 125 678 (Option 5, then 3)
    Fax: 0845 6010988
    Email: [East Midlands Trains problem reporting email]

    To help us improve our service, please rate our response at -

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EastMidla...

    This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the East Midlands Trains IT Department on 44 (0) 161 219 4331.

    Company Name: East Midlands Trains Limited
    Registered Address: Friars Bridge Court, 41-45 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NZ
    Registered Number: 5340682

    This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by MessageLabs for the presence of computer viruses.
  • 5 Myf Nixon advised Austin to write to Network Rail. close 10:21 03 May 2012

    Hello Austin,

    As you suspected, this is an issue for Network Rail, therefore if you would like to send your message on to them, you can do so here.

    Good luck!
    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 6 Tom Mitchell commented close 12:08 16 May 2012

    Longton railway bridge might not be the Forth or the Tyne but it does have an engineering or architectural significance of its own. I believe it was the first of that particular design and is possibly the biggest of such a design on the network.

  • 7 kenneth edmondson commented close 00:54 19 May 2012

    I think that Longton bridge was built in 1886 by the North Staffordshire Railway, and was at that time the lowest (i.e. most efficient) bowstring bridge ever constructed in this country. As such, it is of significant historical importance.
    Having asked many local people, I don't think that this bridge has been repainted since at least the 1950's. This fact itself stands as testament to the engineering skills and competencies of those involved in its construction, including the Chief Engineer, G.T. Crosbie-Dawson.
    It is quite deplorable that such a meaningful "ancient monument", which still remains in daily use, should be so neglected by Network Rail. Furthermore, it is quite insulting to the people of Longton, one of the major pottery towns, that the bridge has become an eyesore, rather than the "cause celebre" that it ought to be.
    The brinksmanship that has been taking place between Network Rail and the City Council is so typical of our shallow and utilitarian age. I find it quite incredible, in this era of supposed "partnerships", that relevant Parties cannot find means to accomodate a resolution to this running sore.

  • 8 Tom Mitchell commented close 11:19 19 May 2012

    Perhaps the bridge could be a rallying point for a wider campaign. Longton has many advantages over the other five towns in terms of economic potential, not least the fact that is the only one served directly by rail. Looked at in the round, Longton has many buildings of social, historical and architectural significance spanning the 19th and 20th century. The visual and practical relationship between the station, the Crown Hotel and the Town Hall is a good starting point. Then consider the potential of St Johns church yard as a plaza for public events. A campain then to encourage young people with entrepreneurial ambitions to try their hand with new ideas in the empty shop units on Market Street and in Bennett Precinct(itself a site of architectural interest from a 20th C perspective) through peppercorn rents. Take Gladstone Museum out of the hands of the City Council through a community asset transfer and get some private finance into the Tams site to turn it into artists studios and workshops.

    The sooner people stop looking at Longton through the prism of terminal economic decline and start seeing it as a place with vast potential, the sooner that bridge will get repainted!

  • 9 Mike Rawlins commented close 16:58 05 Jun 2012

    Hello,

    From what I have read all of the above comments are pretty accurate.

    The bridge hasn't been painted in the last 50 years
    The bridge is (was) the largest span of a single bowstring

    There have been several campaigns locally to try and gain support for the bridge being painted see http://www.pitsnpots.co.uk/tag/bridge/ local councillors were involved along with the local MP.

    The bridge was also known as a Ferodo bridge, it had, until recently, a Ferodo sign on it, for some reason the city council (I think) arranged for this to be removed. Sadly this also means that people who 'spot Ferodo bridges, no longer need to come to Longton.

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/ferodo/
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ferodo+bridges

    I believe there is a twin bridge in Derby, the bridge is no longer used but has been painted and turned in to an architectural feature, I can't confirm this as I'm only going off what I have been told locally.

    Although I'd love to see the bridge in my adopted town painted I think that the Crewe Derby line is more likely to close before a paint brush gets wield in anger on the bridge.

  • 10 Tom Mitchell commented close 12:02 06 Jun 2012

    Does anyone know if the bridge is listed?

  • 11 Mike Rawlins commented close 12:29 06 Jun 2012

    Hi Tom,

    No the bridge isn't listed.

    Stoke-on-Trent is well blessed with listed buildings about 190 I think, but sadly the bridge isn't one of them.

    Mike

  • 12 Mike Rawlins commented close 13:11 06 Jun 2012

    Oh lots of comments from Me, Tom S you may want to delete a couple of the duplicates.

  • 13 Mike Rawlins commented close 13:16 06 Jun 2012

    The painting of Longton Bridge has been taken to Westminster http://www.parliament.uk/search/results/?type=advanced&adv_exact=Longton+railway+bridge

  • 14 Myf Nixon commented close 13:44 06 Jun 2012

    Hi Mike, FixMyTransport Admin here - I've removed the duplicate comments. It's easily done if the browser is a bit slow refreshing and you click on 'post' mulptiple times - as I know from experience.

    anorak
    admin
  • 15 Austin Hannaby commented close 16:30 16 Jun 2012

    I do feel that there is an increasing number of people who view the bridge as an eyesore.

    I am also encouraged by the fact that a few gave been in touch with me via Fix my Transport.

  • 16 Tom Mitchell commented close 23:02 16 Jun 2012

    I think we should be careful. The bridge is an icon, not an eysore. It needs to be supported as part of the grain of the towns culture and a significant focal point of the Longton Conservation Area (if that still exists??) It needs a lick of paint, that's all. If it becomes a focus of attention because of it's cosmetic state it could well end up dismantled rather than preserved. Keep a close eye on the signal box at Foley too. The turnstile went without a murmer.

  • 17 Austin Hannaby commented close 09:15 29 Jul 2012

    I don't know whether Longton Railway Bridge is a listed structure. If it isn't, what is the procedure to get it listed? Who do I get in touch with?

  • 18 Peter Dixon commented close 21:21 31 Jul 2012

    Hello Austin

    Good Question.

    I have had a quick look on http://list.english-heritage.org.uk/ and not found it, so I would assume that it is not listed. Asking to get it listed is easy. However, I would advise you to get as much help and support as possible from your council, MP, local councillors and any local historic societies who may help you get an appropriate listing that is successful.

    http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/professional/protection/process/online-application-form/

    The problem with getting it listed is that this may work against getting work done that would progress the development of the bridge

    Kind regards

    anorak
    admin
  • 19 Tom Mitchell commented close 21:45 31 Jul 2012

    Hi all,
    Sorry, meant to reply to the listing question before. It's not a difficult process, just a form but it's support that's required. I can now reveal myself as the new owner of Bevans on the Strand! I would be very happy to promote a 'meat space' (ie where real people actually meet up to make stuff happen) campaign for the bridge at the shop and host a public meeting there too, though numbers would have to be limited. Anyone in touch with local councillors on this? Drop into the shop (11-5 Mon- Sat, closed on Thursday but knock at the dooor) to talk about it...

  • 20 Mike Rawlins commented close 17:40 01 Aug 2012

    'ello

    Following up from what Peter says about listing the bridge, if the bridge were to be listed today then it would be listed in it's current state and then Network Rail would need to apply to English Heritage to do any work on it including painting it.

    EG If you have a 200 year old house and put stone cladding on it, if your neighbour applies (and succeeds) to have it listed to stop you adding a minaret, the cladding is listed as it was in situ at the time of listing and you would need to apply to EH to remove it.

    As they are pretty reticent to do any work anyway listing is probably not the way forward. Get it painted in the right colours then get it listed.

    It could of course fall down before it gets painted if the other buildings in Longton are anything to go by :(

  • 21 Tom Mitchell commented close 11:02 02 Aug 2012

    Good points on the listing question, not a route to persue then. I have noticed the appearance of blue netting on the bridge, what's that all about?

  • 22 Mike Rawlins commented close 11:15 02 Aug 2012

    Hi Tom,

    I think they are doing track replacement work.

    Last time I used the station there were lengths of new track laid in the the middle of the current rails.

    I also saw some conversation on Twitter over the weekend of lots of rail action and noise in and around the Meir tunnel. So I assume the netting will be to stop stuff flying off the bridge as they work.

  • 23 antony buck commented close 08:17 02 Mar 2013

    what has happened to the ferrodo sign on the bridge it seemed to go missing a few years ago

  • 24 Mike Rawlins commented close 10:00 02 Mar 2013

    Hello Antony,

    the Ferrodo sign was taken down 2011 I think. You can thank the local councillors for having it removed.

    They didn't see the value of having what they perceived to be a 'tatty old sign' on the bridge, it apparently gave people the 'wrong impression' when they drove in to Longton down King Street.

    It isn't the old and derelict buildings that give a place that unloved feel, it is an iconic sign on a railway bridge apparently.

    Longton looks so much better now the sign has gone /sarcasm

  • 25 antony buck commented close 20:26 10 Mar 2013

    that sign was better than the seedy pulse and cocktails sign and the buildings as you say mate.

  • 26 antony buck commented close 20:30 10 Mar 2013

    like most buildings in the area even the listed ones eg the bingo hall and the doultons factory at wheildon rd all left untill the perished

  • 27 Mark Ellam commented close 09:03 05 Jul 2013

    Scalfording has started to go up and road closures in place for the next 12 weeks. Let the painting begin

  • 28 Mike Rawlins commented close 09:22 05 Jul 2013

    At last!

    Any idea of what colours?

  • 29 Austin Hannaby commented close 19:01 05 Jul 2013

    Hi Mike,

    The colour will be Holly Green which I imagine is dark green. The work is going to last until December and the cost is £1,600,000. Its been a long wait so hopeffully it will be well worth it. Austin Hannaby.

  • 30 Mike Rawlins commented close 16:16 11 Dec 2013

    Has the painting finished now and are there any pictures of it? I can't just walk down the road to see now.

  • 31 antony buck commented close 20:56 29 Dec 2013

    I have noticed they have only painted the railings where people can see they have left a section visable from caroline street

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Longton Rail Station in Longton operated by East Midlands Trains
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