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Demolition plans for landmark rail bridge


Demolition plans for landmark rail bridge

From Lancashire Evening Post.

Steam: The dilapidated Vicars Bridge, is set to be removed

Part of a landmark railway bridge could be pulled down if plans are given the go-ahead.


The Vicars Bridge, which connects East Cliff with the Lancashire County Council offices in the former Park Hotel, Preston, is currently the last surviving remnant of the former Butler Street station.

The older girder and lattice bridge which dates back to 1848, has corroded badly in recent decades and is now set to be pulled down.

Owner Network Rail has submitted a planning application to Preston Council for the removal of the old bridge, which is in a Conservation Area, but a separate Bailey bridge which sits within the old structure will remain.

Trains on the East Lancashire Railway once passed under the bridge between travelling between Bamber Bridge and the nearby Butler Street Station.

For train enthusiasts the bridge holds happy memories.

Robert Gregson, 57, who grew up in Preston and is currently writing a book on the area’s rail heritage, said: “When we were kids I used to go up on the bridge to watch the trains.

“Sometimes drivers would stop and blow smoke up on us.

“I remember the lads who came from Preston Council with Smoke Cards to inspect.

“Anybody creating a lot of smoke with their engines got a memo from the council, it was quite a busy place in its day.

“The bridge is the last recognisable relic and if you look at the Network Rail maintenance building, that is the last building.”

But Mr Gregson said the bridge no longer looked safe.

He added: “The old structure is beyond redemption.

“The old bridge was put up in 1848 by the East Lancashire Railway out of the Preston extension from Bamber Bridge to Preston Station at Butler Street.

“The lattice which is around the side of the Bailey bridge will go.

“The Bailey bridge will remain but it won’t be the same.”

A planning application was submitted on June 17 and is due to be considered by a planning officer.

A spokesman for Network Rail was not available for comment.

Yesterday the Evening Post reported steps are being taken to tighten planning rules in the Fulwood Conservation Area.


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