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Network Rail moved the Merrick Road Footbridge

Network Rail moved the Merrick Road Footbridge

Network Rail has successfully moved the Merrick Road footbridge, formerly of Southall, to Didcot Railway Centre. By working with their main contractor Taylor Woodrow and subcontractor Murphy, Network rail were able to successfully dismantle, transport and reassemble the footbridge. This project is a small part of the Crossrail West works.

The bridge was separated into three parts for transportation in a process that took place over two weekends. The bridge itself was removed in 24 hours but assessments to ensure that the workers were in a safe environment while trains were no longer running took more time. The preservation of the bridge was important to the Great Western Society as the third section of the footbridge is the location for the founding of the Society. The Great Western Society was formed in 1961 by schoolboys who stood on the old Merrick Road footbridge to watch the steam trains. The aim of the Society is to preserve Victorian/Edwardian rail network. It could therefore be a tribute to this focus on preservation that the bridge has been removed and placed in Didcot Railway Centre. The bridge will be preserved and displayed to enthusiasts in a new exhibition at the centre.

The bridge was removed by crane and will be replaced by a brand new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians that will be more up to date and include lifts and ramps. The new bridge was approved by Ealing council in March 2016. The contractors Taylor Woodrow and Murphy had to collaborate closely to successfully remove and transport the bridge so it can take pride of place at the museum. The two contractors even waived management fees to ensure that the project could even go ahead.

Despite advances in technology, it is a good thing to see that industries are still remembering triumphs of the past, and preserving their heritage for the education of future generations and the admiration of architectural and transport enthusiasts.

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