Swanage Railway News Gallery - Page 482
PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL AWARD PLAQUE INSTALLED AT CORFE CASTLE ON 26th OCTOBER 2008
News Item and Press Release from Andrew P.M. Wright - dated 2nd Nov 2008
Official photographer & press officer, Swanage Railway.
Photographs are copyright Andrew P.M. Wright.
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The footbridge team at
Corfe Castle station with John Gelson (centre) of National Express holding the award plaque on 26th October 2008
A plaque marking a prestigious and coveted national award won by dedicated
volunteers who saved an historic Victorian footbridge in London from demolition -
restoring and rebuilding it for a new working life on the Swanage Railway - has been officially installed.
The five year project at Corfe Castle station won the Volunteers’ Award - sponsored by the
Great North Eastern Railway company owned by National Express - in the annual National Railway
Heritage Awards held at the historic Merchant Taylors’ Hall in central London in December, 2007.
John Gelson (centre) of National Express, with Swanage Railway Trust's new Chairman Mike Whitwam (left)
and Swanage Railway's Footbridge Project Leader
Philip Wycliffe-Jones (right) at Corfe Castle station with the
award plaque before it was screwed into position under the sign on the 'up' platform on 26th October 2008
Heavy rain did not dampen spirits at Corfe Castle station on the morning of Sunday 26th October,
2008, when National Railway Heritage Awards representatives and Swanage Railway volunteers who
had worked on the footbridge project joined John Gelson of National Express for the formal
unveiling and installation of the award plaque.
The award plaque being screwed into position under the
Corfe Castle station sign on the 'up' platform with Swanage
Railway bridge project volunteer Alan Knight undertaking the
task watched by John Gelson (left) and Philip Wycliffe-Jones (right) on 26th October 2008
Also present for the ceremony were Mike Stanbury, secretary of the National Railway Heritage
Awards, who was accompanied by his treasuer Tony Saunders.
The ceremonial plaque was installed below the 'up' platform station sign at Corfe Castle,
next to a plaque previously installed - when the bridge was officially opened in April,
2007 - giving the history of the footbridge and the lengthy, detailed and complex project
to save, restore, extend and install it at the picture postcard Victorian station.
The award plaque in position under the
Corfe Castle station sign and the previously installed information plaque on the 'up' platform
The coveted National Railway Heritage Awards plaque had previously been presented to civil
engineer Philip Wycliffe-Jones of the Swanage Railway and his team of fellow volunteers by
the late Gwyneth Dunwoody, Chairman of the House of Commons’ Transport Select Committee
who was the Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich
Philip Wycliffe-Jones, who lives near Christchurch and led the project, said: "We are absolutely
delighted to have won this award and I would like to pay tribute to all my fellow volunteers
who have made this important project happen over the last five years.
The new bridge offers visitors the opportunity to view the line from above whilst crossing the line in safety
"The opening of the footbridge at Corfe Castle in April, 2007, by David Quarmby, CBE, was vitally
important because it is a much safer and more convenient for the public than crossing over the
track via the gated and lock foot crossing.
"The footbridge can also handle the large numbers of people who use Corfe Castle station at peak
times," he added.
The footbridge was built in 1893 by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. With cast iron
columns and a wrought iron span, the footbridge spent its life at Merton Park in London, near
Wimbledon, on the West Croydon line.
Mr Wycliffe-Jones explained: "It’s a very attractive footbridge which looks as if it has always
been at Corfe Castle station which was built in 1884.
The footbridge at Corfe Castle just before dismantling at Merton Park, London, in the late 1990s.
Photo courtesy Philip Wycliffe-Jones.
"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.
"Everyone concerned has carried out a magnificent job in dismantling the bridge, getting it
down to Dorset and then restoring it. I would like to say a big thank you to the members of
the Swanage Railway’s 200 Club which raised the £35,000 needed for the footbridge project.
"We had to have the bridge span extended before we could crane it on the platforms at Corfe
Castle station and paint it before it was 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 200, 000 passengers travelled on the railway and this year we should see more,"
explained Mr Wycliffe-Jones.
The GNER Volunteers’ Award was shared with the Severn Valley Railway for a replica Great
Western Railway-type Pagoda waiting shelter at Northwood Halt.
Since 1979, the annual National Railway Heritage Awards have been sponsored by the leading
railway publishers Ian Allan Publishing Ltd of Hersham in Surrey in partnership with the
Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC); two train operators - First and the GNER -
as well as the London Underground, Network Rail, the Railway Heritage Trust and Invensys Westinghouse Rail Systems.
The annual National Railway Heritage Awards are supported by the Heritage Railway
Association and J & JW Longbottom Ltd.
For an illustrated news item on the official opening of Corfe Castle's historic
footbridge on 28th April 2007, please see our earlier news item.
Views of the transformed station scene at Corfe Castle following the installation of the new footbridge.
All photographs are copyright Andrew P.M. Wright unless otherwise noted.
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Last Updated 2nd Nov 2008
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