Crossrail West Stations team help preserve railway heritage

After two years of planning, the remaining spans of Southalls iconic Merrick Road footbridge have been dismantled, preparing it for its new life at Didcot Railway Centre.

The footbridge was removed in three parts over two consecutive weekends and the third section of the bridge is of particular significance to the Great Western Society, as it is the location of the Societys creation in 1961. The four founding members, who were schoolboys at the time, are said to have stood on the bridge in view of the steam trains in the old Southall depot and created the Great Western Society which aims to preserve the late Victorian/Edwardian railway network.

After being successfully removed by crane, this span was hauled to the Didcot Railway Centre where it will eventually be displayed in a new exhibition at the museum.

We worked closely with Subcontractor Murphy and arranged for the historic bridge to be hauled from Southall to its new home in Didcot, waiving management fees to enable the project to happen. The bridge will be replaced by a new cycle and pedestrian bridge as part of the works.

Andrew Durrant, Scheme Project Manager at Network Rail said: 'With all the work that Crossrail is doing to make a better railway for tomorrow, it's sometimes easy to forget the treasures of yesterday. When the Great Western Society approached the project, at short notice, to ask that one of the spans be preserved in their museum at Didcot as an example of very fine late Victorian and early Edwardian engineering we were only too happy to accommodate their request. Special thanks go to our contractors, Taylor Woodrow and Murphy, who arranged for the span to be hauled to the Didcot Railway Centre to support railway heritage preservation schemes such as this.