Swanage Railway News Gallery - Page 363
EX-STRATEGIC RAIL AUTHORITY CHAIRMAN OFFICIALLY OPENS CORFE CASTLE'S HISTORIC VICTORIAN RAILWAY FOOTBRIDGE
ON 28th APRIL 2007
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News Item and Press Release from Andrew P.M. Wright - dated 3rd May 2007
Official photographer & press officer, Swanage Railway.
Photographs are copyright Andrew P.M. Wright.
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David Quarmby, CBE, officially opening Corfe Castle's historic station footbridge on 28th April 2007
The former chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority has officially opened an historic Victorian railway footbridge saved from
demolition in London and restored and rebuilt – over five years – for use at the Swanage Railway’s Corfe Castle station.
We have split the photos over several pages. Please follow the links at the foot of this page for more photos.
David Quarmby CBE – also former chairman of the British Tourist Authority and London’s Docklands Light Railway – cut an
official ribbon and unveiled a special plaque on the wrought iron footbridge connecting the ‘up’ and ‘down’ platforms during a
special ceremony on the morning of Saturday 28 April 2007.
David Quarmby, CBE, (left) cutting the ribbon on the footbridge up platform steps at Corfe Castle with Swanage Railway project leader Philip Wycliffe-Jones (right)
cutting the ribbon on the down platform steps on its official opening on 28th April 2007.
After marking a special piece of Dorset railway history with the official opening, Mr Quarmby said: “I’m absolutely
delighted to have been asked to formally open this footbridge and I’d like to pay tribute to all the volunteers who have
made this important project happen over the last five years.
“The opening of this footbridge is vitally important because it’s safer and more convenient than crossing over the track,
and it can handle the large numbers of people who use Corfe Castle station at peak times.
David Quarmby, CBE, (centre) with Swanage Railway Trust Chairman Bill Trite (left) meet footbridge project leader Philip Wycliffe-Jones (right)
on Corfe Castle's historic station footbridge after its official opening on 28th April 2007.
“It’s a very attractive bridge which look as if it has always been there. In fact, it spent most of its life on the Wimbledon to
West Croydon branch in south London and became available when that line was taken into the Croydon Tramlink system.
“All concerned – especially the many volunteers on the Swanage Railway – have done a magnificent job in dismantling the
bridge, getting it down to Dorset and restored, having its bridge span extended and then installed on the platforms at Corfe
Castle station, painted and finally commissioned.
“The Swanage Railway goes from strength to strength, enhancing the tourism economy in the Isle of Purbeck and providing
a valuable park-and-ride facility for Swanage too. Last year, more than passengers rode the railway and this year we should see more.
A view from the new footbridge at Corfe Castle station after its official opening on 28th April 2007 as BR Standard 4MT No. 80104 pulls into the down platform from Norden.
“I look forward to the time when the Swanage Railway is connected back to the London to Weymouth main line at Worgret
Junction and trains can once again run through to Wareham station – and from the national network down to Swanage.
“What a splendid achievement and congratulations to all concerned,” explained Mr Quarmby who performed the official
opening in front of special guests, including members of the Swanage Railway’s 200 Club which raised the £35,000
needed for the footbridge project.
Swanage Railway project leader Philip Wycliffe-Jones (dark jacket) with David Quarmby, CBE, at Corfe Castle
discussing and admiring the elegant footbridge
after its official opening on 28th April 2007.
The footbridge project has taken five years of hard work to bring to fruition with the team of dedicated Swanage Railway
volunteers responsible being led by civil engineer Philip Wycliffe-Jones who lives near Christchurch.
The bridge was built in 1893 by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. With cast iron columns and a wrought iron span,
the bridge spent its life at Merton Park in London, near Wimbledon, on the West Croydon line.
Speech by David Quarmby CBE on the occasion of him officially opening the new footbridge at Corfe Castle station on the morning of 28 April 2007.
“Mr Chairman, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen – it is a great pleasure for me to be here on such a sunny day
formally to open the new footbridge here at Corfe Castle station. I have been on the Swanage Railway as a visitor a few times
over the years, and always enjoyed it immensely.
“This is one of over 100 heritage/preserved railways in this country, run mostly by volunteers and keeping alive these wonderful
examples of railway history in the nation which actually invented the railway and gave the world the 4’ 8 ½” standard gauge.
David Quarmby, CBE, addresses visitors at the official opening of Corfe Castle footbridgeon 28th April 2007.
“Railways like this are no longer just a movement of dedicated railway enthusiasts; they are a big and growing industry and
play a key role as local and regional tourism attractions, adding a new dimension to the life, history and traditions of their
areas – and a fun and interesting activity for children (and their dads?) as well as a great day out for the family.
“As a Vice-President of the Bluebell Railway in Sussex, I am well aware of the contribution that heritage railways make to
their local communities, to the local economy, and to the visitor experience – as well as offering a rich and enjoyable way
of life for the enthusiast and volunteers.
“Many heritage railways make their facilities available for filming and public relations events, for the movement of special traffic,
and for hospitality and special events during the year. They keep alive the craft skills and knowledge which might otherwise be
lost for ever, and in many railways the engineering workshops are available for outside work, while track is sometimes used by
railway manufacturers and operators for tasks and testing which cannot easily be run on the main system.
“The Swanage Railway, now in its thirty-third year, does many of these things and is a superb example of a heritage railway: in
this case greatly enhancing the visitor experience here in the Isle of Purbeck and relieving pressure on parking and traffic in Swanage itself.
“But, it doesn’t stand still. There are plans to upgrade the recently reconnected track between Norden and Wareham station to
allow Swanage Railway trains to run through to Wareham to enable passengers to connect with the Weymouth line to Waterloo,
and possibly have the occasional train off the main line down here; but there is work to do and money to raise and bureaucracy to
deal with before that can be a reality. We nevertheless wish the Swanage Railway well in taking that task forward because
re-establishing that link will transform the experience and the railway’s potential.
The footbridge at Corfe Castle just before dismantling at Merton Park, London, in the late 1990s.
Photo courtesy Philip Wycliffe-Jones.
“Well, today we are here to open this new footbridge. As you probably know, the footbridge was rescued from certain
oblivion by some sharp-eyed members of the Swanage Railway. This footbridge used to span the Wimbledon to West
Croydon branch in south London, and became surplus to requirements when the Croydon Tramlink project took over
this branch and made it part of the new tram system.
“In fact, not content with one bridge, these voracious bridge-hungry members of the Swanage Railway took the opportunity
to remove three footbridges for use on other sections of the railway.
“But, this bridge is not just a pretty and highly appropriate addition to the landscape of the station: it performs an important
safety function on this growing railway. Passengers departing or alighting from trains on the down platform have had to cross
the line, under controlled conditions. To cross by the bridge will now be both safer and more convenient, as you don’t have to
wait to be let across. It also makes Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate – who are responsible for railway safety sleep
happier in their beds – not to mention the trustees of the Swanage railway.
“Anyone who has had business with the main line railway system will know, as I do, that doing anything to the infrastructure is
alarmingly expensive. You almost have to write a cheque for £1 million to go and shore up some embankment or, lengthen a
platform, or run a new power cable to the track – and if you want to move a signal, well you really have to save up for that.
“Which makes it all the more remarkable when voluntary organisations like the Swanage Railway can actually ship three
footbridges down from London, store it, modify the structure, design and construct the footings, pick up, erect and fit the
bridge into place, paint in, certify it as safe and commission it for use. I understand that when the structure was lowered
on to the bolts fixed into the footings it fitted first time - well done!
Swanage Railway's Corfe Castle station footbridge being lowered into position on 19th September 2006
“And how does this happen? Dedication, commitment and some good practical common sense by so many volunteer
members of the Swanage Railway, supplemented by specialist firms – some of whom gave their time and services at
cost or for nothing.
“And on behalf of all the people who will use this station and this footbridge, I would like to offer our sincere and grateful
thanks to all those volunteers, and the paid staff of the railway, and the specialist firms and individual who helped with the
project, for delivering such an attractive, and functional addition to the railway. Congratulations – particularly to the
volunteers – on a neat job well done!
“So now, let me move to the plaque. It gives me the greatest pleasure to unveil this plaque, and to wish Godspeed to
all who use the footbridge.”
Swanage Railway's Corfe Castle station footbridge plaque
To see a full photo report on the installation of the footbridge at Corfe Castle, please click here.
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To visit the other pages featuring Andrew P.M. Wright's photos taken during the official opening of the footbridge at Corfe Castle, please follow these links.
- To visit the second page of photos please click here.
- To visit the third page of photos please click here.
- To visit the fourth page of photos please click here.
All photographs are copyright Andrew P.M. Wright.
Photos on these pages are low resolution versions.
Full resolution photos are available for media use
Last Updated 4th May 2007
© Swanage Railway