The Battle of Bridge 42 is far from over. Whaley Bridge residents who failed to win the argument last autumn over Network Rail’s plan to demolish the listed bridge and eventually increase freight traffic on the line now have another chance to press their concerns.
Bridge 42, which carries the railway line over Buxton Road, has Grade II listed status. Its ironwork is typically Victorian, and has been a landmark since the 1860s. Network Rail’s lack of detailed information about their demolition plan resulted in High Peak borough council’s development control committee sending a planning application back to them for more detailed explanations. Mike Green, head of development services at the council, suggested the committee should push for public consultation after Network Rail resubmits a new application.
There was opposition to Network Rail from Whaley Bridge borough councillor John Pritchard, who said the case for demoltion of the bridge had not been made. He said an even older cast iron bridge in Staffordshire had been successfully repaired.
Last autumn The Review questioned Netwrk Rail about future plans. A spokesman said then: “Assuming we get the go-ahead, then yes, there will be an increase in freight services by virtue of the fact that they do not currently go that way; an increase in trains will inevitably mean more trains may well run at night but that is dependant on the requirements of quarry customers; assuming we get the go-ahead it will be indefinitely.”
There was opposition on the Whaley Bridge website. One writer challenged English Heritage for not opposing the destruction of the bridge. But another message noted that increased rail traffic was preferable to the alternative – more lorries on the roads.
Whaley Bridge town council chair John Swift said: “If properly looked after, the bridge could be very impressive. We got rid of the A6 going through the village years ago – now we face the awful prospect of more trains thundering through day and night.”
- People who wish to make their views known about the plan and its implications can contact their local town council members. The town clerk is on 01663 733 068