Weʼre raising £10,000 to Save, restore and reinstate the 1892 timber footbridge at Alton railway station in Hampshire, UK.
- Alton, Hampshire, UK
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Alton was provided with a footbridge at Alton station, Hampshire (UK), in 1892. It was an open timber structure, held together by bolts and brackets. This was not good enough for the 'Ladies of Alton', so they lobbied the railway company and got it covered in 1894, and windows provided in 1896. Research has revealed that these ladies were in fact part of the women's suffrage movement. Having out-lived all the other timber footbridges of its era, a replacement was provided with lifts in 2013 (further up the platform). It was felt by Altonians that the old footbridge was of historical significance and was an integral part of the station ambience for those visiting the Watercress Line on platform 3.
In 2014 a pressure group was set up: Friends of Alton Station. We tried getting the bridge listed on two occasions, but both applications were rejected. It was clear that we had to negotiate with Network Rail if the bridge was going to be saved for posterity. At first, it was thought that Network Rail could repair the bridge within their budgets, but when work started on site, it was soon clear that a lot more work was required to bring it up to standard. There have been several dates set for the removal of the footbridge, but in the end it was removed on Saturday 7th March 2020 and was moved a mile away to a field at Brant Storage so it can be restored. The campaign continues, as we move forward to restore and reinstate the bridge in a nearby location.
We are now raising funds to cover the costs of restoration and reinstallation of the footbridge. Up until August 2019, our primary goal was to put the footbridge back in its current position, but we worked out that the costs of doing this would be prohibitive. The deciding factor was the offer of a £50k grant from the Railway Heritage Trust to cover the extra costs entailed in carefully removing of the bridge. They would only award the grant to us if we relocate the bridge away from the working railway. The hope is that we can move it a very short distance so that it crosses the nearby Mid-Hants Railway tracks, but this is a matter for future negotiation.
In order to rescue the footbridge, we negotiated with Network Rail to allow us to salvage the bridge in a form that can be repaired. We were originally planning to take the bridge apart in the car park, but ended up moving the central section in one piece. The proprietor of Brant Storage (on the Basingstoke Road) kindly offered us free storage space, so we will be able to dismantle the bridge at our leisure, allowing us to make repairs as we go. We will be looking for people to help with this work, especially carpenters and someone used to project-managing. We could also do with someone who could seek more donors and sponsors to enable this project to be completed. Once the restoration work is complete, the final part of the puzzle is to reassemble the bridge in its new position. If we are successful with negotiations with the Mid-Hants Railway, we will also need to make a new short platform to take the far side of the footbridge. We need your help to realise this plan, so if you are able to help our project, we will be entirely grateful.
Many thanks to our Donors
We are fortunate to have a good number of people who have donated money to our cause. Many thanks to all those people - without you our project would be a non-starter. If you have yet to make a donation, we would like to point out that you can donate in monthly instalments through Just Giving, if that's any help. If you wonder what we've spent money on so far... In 2017 we used a District Council grant to pay for an engineering survey of the bridge condition. In 2019 we used your donations to pay for engineering company to provide calculations for the removal of the bridge. In 2020 we are spending large sums of money on things like the transport of the bridge, packing materials to support the bridge in storage and many other considerable expenses as the restoration gets underway. It is now, more than ever, that we need your financial support to enable us to get the restoration completed and the bridge installed in its new home.
For up to date news and comment, see our Facebook page: fb.com/friendsofaltonstation
For more detail about Friends of Alton Station, the footbridge project, local railway history, see our website: www.friendsofaltonstation.org.uk
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Stephen Lewis started crowdfunding
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Apr 26, 2020
Mar 12, 2020
Mar 12, 2020
Looking forward to seeing the bridge in its new location in the not too distant future.
Mar 10, 2020
Mar 10, 2020
With love to the old bridge! Julia
Mar 9, 2020
Very well done to the team on saving the main part of the bridge, great effort and persistence. Donated when I heard the side stairs couldn't be saved, hope this helps to buy a step or beam somewhere
Mar 9, 2020
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