‘We don’t want a railway bridge disaster’

The bridge at Cheddington
The bridge at Cheddington

Concerns were raised over the state of a failing bridge in Cheddington as one driver lost the bumper of her car while driving over it.

The bridge on Station Road runs over the railway line. A dispute has allegedly broken out between National Rail and Bucks County Council (BCC)over responsibility for its repairs. The bridge currently has an eight-inch slump on its surface, with large cracks in the outer walls.

Transport for Bucks (BCC) enacted an emergency road closure following the incident with the driver on Friday. But residents claim its problems have largely been ignored.

Cllr Chris Poll said: “They are arguing between themselves, with Network Rail saying its a highways problem while Transport for Bucks say it’s a subsidiary of the railway.

“Cheddington is known for a train robbery 50 years ago – what we don’t want is to be known for a disaster. We are very concerned.”

Peter Brazier, parish councillor for Mentmore, said: “It’s obvious to the casual observer that the bridge has some serious issues. They need to stop blaming each other and fix it.”

A spokesman for BCC said that the railway bridge and its approach walls were owned by Network Rail.

He said: “Transport for Buckinghamshire is responsible for the road surfacing over the bridge and the road on the approaches between the walls.”

BCC stated that the slump is on the approach to the bridge, not the bridge itself.

They added that the damage was due to movement in a wall alongside the road, and “not due to any defect of the main railway bridge”.

The spokesman added: “Following a further inspection it was decided to implement a temporary road closure, as the dip had reached a depth were it was felt necessary to undertake a temporary surfacing repair.

“The surfacing repairs will be completed this week when the bridge will re-open.”

A Network Rail spokesman said the company was “working closely with the council”.

He added: “We are carrying detailed structural monitoring of the bridge wall. This will help us determine the scale of the problem and what work we need to carry out.”