Nia Griffith MP and Burry Port County Councillors Pat Jones and John James have been to Cardiff to see Network Rail’s Route Managing Director for Wales Mark Langman about the footbridge over Pembrey and Burry Port Station. The meeting was convened to coincide with the completion of a condition survey of the bridge, that Network Rail staff said they would carry out when they first met local politicians about the bridge back in the autumn.
Whereas last October, Network Rail staff had plans to demolish the bridge, the new report identifies two levels of refurbishment, one which would put the bridge right for 20 years at an estimated cost of £150,000 or a more extensive job costing some £280,000 which would give the bridge a 50 year life extension. Mr Langman explained that as Network Rail had only budgeted on £50,000 to £60,000 for the demolition of the bridge, this left them short even for the cheaper option.
Nia Griffith said,
“We are at least now talking about funding repairs to the bridge. Network Rail makes money from passengers from Burry Port, and especially now that fares have recently increased, I’d like to see Network Rail invest in the bridge, in return for the money Burry Port people put in. We’ll also be continuing talks with Carmarthenshire County Council.”
“I have been in touch with Carl Sargeant AM about altering the future rail franchising agreement, due for renewal in 2018, so that from then on, responsibility for the bridge could be given to the train operating company in the same way that Arriva Trains Wales currently looks after footbridges at other stations in Wales. That means we are looking at refurbishment and maintenance up until then. The County Council has already expressed willingness to look at day-to-day maintenance such as gritting, and cleaning, or Town Council may take it on. So the key think now is to secure funding for the repairs.”