September 16th, 2016

Great Eastern Railway Footbridge Opened at North Weald

People on bridge steps

              First people to use new bridge

The footbridge at Epping Ongar Railway’s North Weald Station was officially opened today by Mr Frank Messenger. The bridge, which links platforms 1 and 2 had been under going restoration for over 5 years and today marked a proud moment for the Railway’s volunteers. The bridge was preserved due to the foresight of the Ongar Railway Preservation Society over 20 years who rescued it from Churchfields in E18 where it spanned the Central Line.

Frank Messenger, local resident and donor to the bridge fund said,

”Having called the village home for 45 years we agreed as a family to boost progress in the bridge project by offering to match the donations previously made. At the time I suggested that it motivated by a desire to see the completion of the bridge in our lifetimes!”

The original features of the bridge have been kept with clever use of modern materials where needed. It replaces a demolished concrete bridge built at North Weald Station.

Doug Pinkney, Project Leader for the project said,

“The project started in May 2015 and at the time it was lots of rust and little else, as the original bridge had been in very poor condition. For many months it seems that my team was taking more away of the bridge than replacing. However that changed earlier this year and in July 2016 our structural engineer gave us the go ahead, we finished the steps, painting and handrails and I am very proud that the bridge was opened today.”

Prior to the installation of the bridge passengers had to cross the platforms the long way via the foot crossing. The bridge makes that journey quicker and also gives fantastic views over the whole of the North Weald Station site.

Roger Wright, Managing Director of Epping Ongar Railway said:

“As the passenger numbers for the Railway increase we need to make our stations ready for them. The footbridge is very much a part of this and demonstrates that the Railway is going from strength to strength.”

There will be a further ceremony of dedication for the volunteers and others involved in bringing this bridge to its present state on 7 October 2016.