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Castle Cary Bridge Repairs by Network Rail

Monday 1 July 2013, 14:39
By John Smith

Network Rail is due to commence extensive bridge repair work on the railway bridge at Castle Cary as of 8th July, lasting for a period of 19 weeks. However, the bridge was reduced to single lane traffic on 10th June to allow exploratory drilling on the deck. During the closure period there will be a full diversion to aid access to the town centre and industrial estates for traffic that would normally use the bridge.

The serious need for the work is evident. The contentious issue here is what damage will be suffered by Castle Cary and Ansford in the process. The local business community has expressed serious concerns direct to Network Rail because they can see looming a 19 week period during which business will suffer a significant downturn. In the current national economic climate local economies live on a financial knife-edge. Add into the equation a road closure/diversion of such magnitude and it's no surprise local businesses are starting to panic.

The local businesses have tried their best to be pro-active in making suggestions to Network Rail to avoid this total closure, but sadly without success. One suggestion was to ask the Army to build a Bailey bridge (portable, temporary, pre-fabricated) over the railway to allow traffic to continue to flow. It seems that Network Rail didn't like this one, so from 8th July Castle Cary and Ansford will be at the mercy of a major bridge closure and road diversion.

Castle Cary bridge works diversions, July 2013
Click map for a larger view

Contacting Network Rail to ask for clarification about the bridge works resulted in the distinct impression that communication was on a strictly controlled basis, presumably for legal reasons. They'll be concerned about claims for loss of business.

A large percentage of deliveries to Wincanton and towns and villages to the south of us also come via that Castle Cary Bridge. We'll likely never know if Network Rail took that into consideration when they planned this work and the diversions.

We are grateful to Network Rail for supplying us with detailed information about the bridge works and diversions. You can download a copy of this information here. Pass this important information to anyone you know who may be coming to Castle Cary or Ansford during the period of the works.


Posts: 1
Bring in the Troops? Seriously..?
Reply #1 on : Mon July 01, 2013, 18:59:02
"One suggestion was to ask the Army to build a Bailey seems that Network Rail didn't like this one".

Thank goodness!

This wasn't a serious suggestion, surely? Quite apart from the fact that our troops are rather busy elsewhere, it's not their job to provide cheap labour in cases where the local authority or private enterprise are unwilling or unable to stump up the funds to do the job themselves.

This seems the sort of scenario where businesses may be able to call upon their Business Interruption Insurance - worth making enquiries with their business insurer where their income is affected.
Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 21:07:54 by mandycochrane  
Nick Colbert
Posts: 1
Bridge closure
Reply #2 on : Wed July 03, 2013, 10:25:33
Sadly there is a tendency to close roads, bridges etc without any thought given to the problems suffered by the people and business.

I believe the army offered to erect a Bailey Bridge as they do exercises doing that at Salisbury anyway so doing it here could be viewed as a useful exercise but I understand the army only wanted network rail to pay for the ground works needed on either side. Network rail had no incentive for paying for anything to help the local area so refused.

The only way to stop the public being abused in this way is for Central Government to legislate for the offending authority to pay compensation to business and an assessed amount for disruption to the public which could go into road improvements, health or education.

If the offending authority had to cost the loss's they were causing others into the equation like that, I think you would find that suddenly traffic lights would be used instead of road closures and where closures were necessary it would be for less time and in the case of the Castle Cary railway bridge I suspect Network Rail would have paid for the ground works for the Bailey Bridge, that being their cheaper option.
Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 10:27:16 by Nick Colbert  
Aussie Bob
Posts: 1
Castle Cary Bridge Repairs
Reply #3 on : Thu October 03, 2013, 13:43:00
These bridge repairs continue to cost the local community dearly. Someone has to pay for the extra transportation occasioned by the (incomprehensible) diversions. Someone has to pay for the disruption caused by lack of access to the railway station. And, someone has to pay for the impact on shops and trade. Why not Network Rail? Has a class action in the courts been considered by anyone?

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