Construction is set to start this Autumn on a new footbridge over Grenville Road level crossing in Lostwithiel in Cornwall after the £1.845 million funding was confirmed. The bridge is expected to be completed and open to the public next Spring.
Mike Gallop, Network Rail Western route and strategic operations director, said: “I am delighted that funding has been secured to enable us to install a footbridge over the railway at Lostwithiel.
“We have recognised there has not been an alternative method for safely crossing the railway for many of our pedestrians and non-road users who currently rely on the level crossing on Grenville Road.
“We are committed to continuing investing in the railway and surrounding infrastructure in Cornwall for the benefit of our passengers, residents and local businesses and this new footbridge will significantly improve pedestrian mobility in and out of Lostwithiel while improving accessibility to the station itself. In parallel to the installation of the footbridge, we will continue to work with our partners to explore future funding options to support the installation of lifts.”
The Great Western mainline from London Paddington to Penzance travels along the east of Lostwithiel across Grenville Road, one of the main routes into and out of the town which is operated by a level crossing. When trains are approaching or in the station, road users and pedestrians alike currently must wait at the level crossing for an average of 22 minutes an hour.
The new footbridge will mean pedestrians, non-road users and passengers will no longer need to wait at the level crossing to cross the railway. There have also been incidents of trespassing and misuse of the level crossing, which it is hoped this new footbridge will help reduce alongside the improved connectivity.
Sheryll Murray, Member of Parliament for South East Cornwall, said: “I am delighted with this announcement which is a result of considerable investment by the Government into the Town of Lostwithiel.
“I have been working with Network Rail to secure this Bridge for many years after the inconvenience of crossing the main railway line was brought to my attention by the then Mayor Tim Hughes. I confirmed this through my Residents Survey where people said this was one of priorities. I appreciate the investment by the Department for Transport in ensuring funding for this bridge has become available which I know will be a considerable benefit to my Constituents.”
The FRP ‘Legacy Footbridge’ – designed and to be installed by contractor Taziker – will be the first of its kind to be installed over the railway. The bridge structure will be delivered in preassembled sections enabling it to be quickly installed in just days without the need to close the railway and impact passenger services. Constructed from Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) materials, the bridge is a light weight, low-carbon structure that is highly durable and requires little or no maintenance.
The design of the footbridge also accommodates the future installation of lifts, which subject to future funding being approved, will enable the footbridge to provide connectivity to the station and town for all users.
Matt Greenhalgh, Director of Technical Services and FRP Projects, Taziker, said: “I was inspired to develop a cost-effective footbridge solution that could replace pedestrian crossings after learning about the difficulties the rail industry face, such as accessibility, disruption to passengers, and potential for accidents. Following extensive research and development, Taziker developed an FRP solution that gives the industry a durable, quick to install, sustainable option to make the railway infrastructure safer and more convenient, without the high costs of traditional options.
“I’m really excited to see the first Legacy Footbridge installed at Lostwithiel station and it will be great to see the community benefiting from this new, innovative structure!”
The project is also improving accessibility to the station, via a new accessible ramp from the road to platform 2, which will enable the station to become fully accessible to modern standards from the road for the first time and ensure passengers and station users with mobility needs can easily and safely access the station.
Additional improvements to the station including the installation of tactile paving on both platforms will further enhance the safety of the station and improve accessibility for people with a visual impairment.
Councillor Philip Desmonde, cabinet portfolio holder for transport at Cornwall Council, said: “We are pleased to be able to support the wishes of Lostwithiel residents in helping to fund the return of the bridge. This is a great example of our partnership with Network Rail and GWR to improve railway infrastructure for passengers and our communities.”
Matt Barnes, Head of Strategic Service Development at Great Western Railway, said: “A new footbridge at Lostwithiel will mark a significant improvement for our passengers who will be able to access the station easier than ever before and without the worry of needing to cross the line before the train arrives.
“We introduced an improved timetable in May 2019 that provided more services for Lostwithiel but has also increased the number of times the level crossing barriers need to be lowered, so it is great that the new footbridge will help to remove some of the issues that our passengers face.”
Photo credit: Network Rail