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Footbridge - Appeal to Chair of Network Rail

By Stephen Lewis Friends of Alton Station

Thursday, 28 April 2016


Stephen Lewis


On the 30th March 2016 Friends of Alton Station received a copy of a Network Rail internal memo stating the engineers' preference for demolition of the footbridge at Alton Station. FAS arranged to meet its existing contact at Network Rail, but this has been put off due to the closure of the line from Farnham.

We were greatly concerned by the lack of action and communication, so we took the initiative by writing to the Chairman of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, asking to meet - we await a reply. We know that our MP, Damian Hinds, has also written and Alton Town Council are also likely to do so in the near future. We have been making an appeal to members of the public to write to Mr Hendy in support of retaining the footbridge with the hope that it will encourage him to make time to meet with us.

There are three main strands to the argument for retaining the bridge: History - the bridge was installed in 1892 and is part of the fabric of Alton; Tourism - the footbridge is an important and well-knowm part of the Victorian ambience of the station as people cross the line to go to the Mid-Hants Railway; Convenience - people using the train services to London find that the bridge offers a covered route from the canopy of platform 2 to that on platform 1, and when the train is full, the bridge allows for faster egress for those at the southern end of platform 2.

Tourism is one aspect of Alton's economy that Alton Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) are keen to build up. They recognise that Alton's connection with both the national rail network and the steam railway are a key part of our tourist industry, and the footbridge is a very visual part of that historic connection. The new DDA-complient bridge is also important Alton, especially for those in wheelchairs, so we are not begrudging the efforts of Network Rail to make Alton station accessible. It is simply that FAS, ACCI, Alton Town Council, Alton Society and the Alton Line Users' Association all recognise that the 1892 bridge is important to people in the town and to those who use the station for both business and pleasure.

If you would like to write to Sir Peter Hendy CBE, the contact details are:
Sir P. Hendy CBE, Chairman, Network Rail, 1 Eversholt Street, London. NW1 2DN

If you are interested in this issue, you might also like to join Friends of Alton Station - go to our Joining page to find out more.

Contact Information

Stephen Lewis

Find Friends of Alton Station

c/o Alton Community Centre, Amery Street, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1HN