The Dean Forest Railway’s renovation of St Mary’s Footbridge in Lydney, carrying a public footpath, has been recognised with a ‘Highly Commended’ National Railway Heritage Award. The footbridge was dismantled and rebuilt by Lydney-based Mabey Bridge with the project being almost 100% funded by the EU’s rural tourism infrastructure development fund. The certificate was given by NRHA’s chair John Ellis to Alastair Clarke (Dean Forest Railway Society chair) and Ian Pope (FoD Railway Ltd chair) at a ceremony at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in the City of London.
Alastair Clarke said, “Our commendation came in the Costain Structures Award, and we lost only to Network Rail’s restoration of the South Esk Viaduct at Montrose. That is a much bigger deal as it’s 440m long and carries a main railway line!”
Ian Pope, who is also an historian and publisher of books about railway and industrial heritage added, ”Our footbridge dates from 1892, it is grade 2 listed and is one of only two surviving structures standing on its original site from the days of the original Severn and Wye Railway, which ran from Lydney to Cinderford and Coleford. It carries a public footpath, because when it was built the idea was to prevent local people from dodging between coal trains, across four very busy tracks by the tin works.”