Friday, 10 April 2015

Tears for Tramway Terminus Termination

The Wantage Tramway provided  interchange with the Great Western main line at Wantage Road Station (main lines in the background).
Services left from beside a "roadway" and were accessed from under the main road bridge (left). The line can be spotted on this old map ...
... and the site today is visible as a chunk of "Network Rail" land.
The Williams Formula 1 organisation has developed its HQ and posh conference centre nearby. The railway station's obligatory pub, formerly The Volunteer ...
... is closed and for sale for development  after a short period as an American-style "awesome" diner.
But none of these tiny heritage memories is likely to survive. Why? Network Rail have begun the electrification of the former Great Western Railway main line to Bristol and Swansea. The Bridge on the A338 is too low for the electric string so will have to be rebuilt.

The rumours locally were that the road would be closed for months whilst this was done. There was outrage ...
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group leader
Julie Mabberley on thebridge which Network Rail
had permission to close from February 10.

... with the Wantage MP joining in with the storms of protest.
"Network Rail  should not be allowed to
shirk its responsibility over the closure."

The Hon Edward Henry Butler Vaizey MP (born 5 June 1968) was Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State post with responsibilities in both the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He was promoted to Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with responsibility for digital industries in the reshuffle on 15 July 2014.

It is not alltogether clear whether this draconian closure was ever a serious proposal; or, more likely, a bit of kite-flying by Network Rail to see if they could save a penny or two. 

Anyway a "revised" proposal was soon announced.
Wantage Road A338 bridge : Key Facts

A brand new bridge and approach embankments will be constructed immediately adjacent to (east of) the existing bridge. The new bridge will incorporate footpaths. Work will also be required to tie in the approach road on both sides of the bridge, which is likely to require short night-time/weekend closures and/or traffic control.

We will start site set up and undertake preliminary works from November 2014. We will remove the existing bridge deck at Christmas 2015.

 Bam Nuttall is already on site ...
... with these green railings on the right following almost exactly the line of tramway tracks.
This will also be the line of the new bridge which will, undoubtedly, obliterate what little was left of the former tramway "station". It is unlikely that the Volunteer pub will survive the new approach roads. It is not due for demolition, but who wants to live/dine with the A338 passing close by their secluded and cosy table?

When the present bridge goes, we will lose the last link with the Wantage Road station building. The old entrance door area remains as part of the bridge parapets.
But all will go at Christmas later this year ...
... leaving only the Tramway head office building in Wantage as the remaining evidence of this historic link.
Will local campaigners ever get their new station at Wantage Road?

Update re the possibility of re-opening
Grove Station from Network Rail

We are aware of third party aspirations to reopen the station at Grove. As part of our planning for the Electrification project and other infrastructure enhancements, we endeavour to take into consideration such future aspirations to ensure that our works do not preclude the feasibility for these ambitions to be realised.

Perhaps The Hon Edward Henry Butler Vaizey MP will be willing to support that proposal with the same enthusiasm as he campaigned against the bridge closure. Maybe not - it's expensive railway and doubtless he drives a posh car.

Cynical, moi?

Maybe better than we thought; this from the local paper in 2009?

Or maybe not.

“I was sceptical, now I’m a believer.” That’s the view of Wantage MP Ed Vaizey on the likelihood of a train station reopening near the town after he held high-level talks with the Association of Train Operating Companies.
 Easter Week : Or Easter, Weak? [5] 
40 Days After Easter
The attempts of artists of old to interpret the story of Jesus' "Ascension", his final earthy farewell, are probably unhelpful and even off-putting to today's audience.

When the apostles met together with (the risen) Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?” Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father's own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

fbb understands the last sentence as more of a "fading into light"  rather than some divine rocket lift-off. To the minds the writers of such accounts, heaven was "up", the grave was "down" and this coloured their use of words. But the short account above gives some real power to the Christian message. It also goes on to predict Jesus' return at the end of time.

The offer of new life for ever is concluded in the very last passages of our Bible, the book called "Revelation".
Then the one who sits on the throne said, “And now I make all things new!” Those who win the victory will receive this from me: I will be their God, and they will be my children. But cowards, traitors, perverts, murderers, the immoral, those who practice magic, those who worship idols, and all liars ...”

Many people would like a "universal" heaven, but there is no evidence for that concept in the Bible. Many don't like the idea of a Judgmental God, but ...
 Next bus / model blog : Saturday 11th April  

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