Just behind the estate where I live, there’s a railway bridge. It carried Byway B1, better known as the Old Marlborough Coach Road over the railway to Amesbury and Larkhill.
I say ‘carried’, because it’s over sixty years since a train last passed under that bridge; even the track has long since been taken up.
But, when I passed by it the other day, I saw workmen, refurbishing the brickwork of the bridge. Was it possible, I wondered, that after all these years, Railtrack still had the duty to maintain that bridge, in the unlikely event that the railway was ever reinstated?
The foreman explained. When the developers bought the land on which the Solstice Park trading estate now stands, the bridge was included in the package. Then, along came the Health and Safety people, who declared it was neither healthy nor safe, and the landowners were obliged to make it so.
The idea of demolishing the bridge completely was considered, but it was decided that it would be cheaper to make it safe. So, in addition to the repaired brickwork, we now have a fence, and a sign saying the maximum weight which may be taken over the bridge.
Now, I can’t conceive of any reason why anyone would want to drive a heavy truck along that track … but just in case you were considering it … you can’t any longer!