Work on the Tay Rail Bridge #dundeewestend

I have received the following update from Network Rail :
 
“Work is now underway to replace more than 1,200 sleepers located on the iconic Tay Bridge, the longest railway structure in Scotland.
This project, which will be ongoing until September, is designed to extend the life of the track and is being delivered in a way which minimises the disruption for passengers.  It represents an investment of more than £500,000 to improve the resilience and reliability of the line for passengers.
One in three sleepers including baseplates and Pandrol clips – which hold the tracks onto the sleepers – are being replaced and ballast below renewed and re-packed. This will deliver improvements to the stability and extend the lifespan of the track.  
It represents an investment of more than £500,000 to improve the resilience and reliability of the two-mile-long structure and follows on from the £75m restoration of the bridge’s metalwork completed in 2017.
Some of the sleeper’s base plates date back to the early 1960’s and the timber sleepers are now at the end of their natural life having been open to the elements and the impacts of the salty air in this exposed coastal location. 
It equates to circa 60 tonnes of sleepers being installed and an equivalent amount of redundant material and spoil being removed from the bridge over the period of the project.
This approach being taken delivers a balance between maintaining the track to ensure it is fit for the volume of traffic travelling over the bridge while avoiding disruption to passenger services on the busy East Coast Mainline.”
 
I have had some correspondence with Network Rail about this as I am concerned that there is no noise impact overnight for residents who live near the bridge around Roseangle/Magdalen Yard Road.    My colleagues who represent the area on the south side of the bridge on Fife Council (Cllrs Jonny Tepp and Tim Brett) have raised this too.
 
Residents close to the bridge were sent a letter last month giving further information and I quote this below (removing some dates of work now past) :
 
“Work will take place each night between the hours of 23:00 and 07:00 on the following dates:
 
Sunday 21st June 2020 to Wednesday 24th June 2020
Tuesday 30th June 2020 to Thursday 2nd July 2020
Monday 6th July 2020 to Thursday 9th July 2020
Sunday 19th July 2020 to Wednesday 22nd July 2020
Sunday 26th July 2020 to Thursday 30th July 2020
Monday 3rd August 2020 to Thursday 6th August 2020
Monday 24th August 2020 to Thursday 27th August 2020
Sunday 30th August 2020 to Thursday 3rd September 2020
 
This work will involve track maintenance at the Tay Bridge. Unfortunately, the equipment we use – in this case Rail Road Vehicles, on-track plant and hand power tools – means that some noise is unavoidable, but we will do all we can to minimise it.  We have also asked those working on site to work with consideration for the local community.
 
We understand that working by your property overnight is far from ideal, but we are legally obliged to work on the railway at times that cause least disruption to trains.  Unfortunately, this means carrying out a lot of our work at weekends or at night.
 
I hope our work doesn’t disturb you too much but if you have any questions or concerns please call our 24-hr helpline on 03457 11 41 41 or via our website http://www.networkrail.co.uk/contactus”
 
If any constituent has any concerns or has noted any noise disturbance, I’d be pleased to speak with them and can be contacted on Dundee 459378 at any time.

Tay Rail Bridge works

Network Rail’s Community Relations Manager, Scotland  has recently advised me :
 
“As part of the major refurbishment of the Tay (Rail) Bridge, our contractors are working over the estuary at present.  
 
They did not anticipate the noise being heard by residents at that side of the bridge (but) we arranged for letters to be dropped.   When we carry out work, notification letters are delivered to residents living within 100m of the worksite and a copy is sent to the relevant Environmental Health Officer in the council.”
 
The letter referred to, delivered in the Roseangle area, reads as follows :
 
“IMPROVEMENT WORKS – Tay Bridge
We will shortly commence phase 4 of improvement works to the Tay Bridge. Although this work is essential, I would like to apologise in advance for any disturbance it may cause you.
 
This work will be ongoing until December 2016 on a 24 hour basis.
 
This work will involve essential structural repairs at the Tay Bridge. Unfortunately, the equipment we use – in this case heavy plant and machinery including jack hammers – means that some noise is unavoidable but we will do all we can to minimise it.  We have also briefed those working on site to work with consideration for the local community.
 
Works on the Dundee side of the bridge will start next to Riverside Drive and progressively move further in to the middle of the Estuary. You may notice some noise during the night in the early stage of the work this will gradually decrease with the completion of each span each taking approximately a month to complete
 
We understand that working by your property overnight is far from ideal, but we are legally obliged to work on the railway at times that cause least disruption to trains.  Unfortunately this means carrying out a lot of our work at weekends or overnight.
 
I do hope our work doesn’t disturb you too much but if you have any questions or concerns please call our 24-hr helpline on 03457 11 41 41.”
 
Thus far, I have not received any noise complaints, but do please contact me if you have any concerns – many thanks.

Update from Network Rail

I was in touch with Network Rail today following concerns about youths getting onto the rail track yesterday near the rail bridge, just before 6pm.   This resulted in trains being halted and I asked Network Rail to thoroughly investigate any possible insecurity in the boundary fencing at the rail track in the area.
 
My office was updated late this afternoon as follows :
 
“The British Transport Police and Network Rail’s Track Services have been aware of this incident since yesterday and have been patrolling the area and searching for a hole in the fence since then.     They eventually found a hole in the fence at the Scottish Water compound and the Network Rail maintenance team were due there at 4.30pm today to repair the fence.  Network Rail advised that it was two youths that had got in.”
 
I am grateful to both Network Rail and British Transport Police for their prompt and efficient attention to this.

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorials unveiling

Earlier today, I was delighted to attend a reception at Discovery Point to commemorate today’s unveiling of the memorials to the victims of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster in 1879, 134 years to the day of the disaster in which 59 known victims lost their lives.
 
Thereafter I attended the Dundee memorial unveiling at Riverside at which a large crowd of people attended.     I was a trustee of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust in its early days and it was wonderful to see the Trust’s work towards memorials in both Fife and Dundee to the victims coming to fruition.
 
Here’s a short video of the ceremony at Riverside and some photographs from today’s event:
Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust Chair Professor David Swinfen addresses the reception at Discovery Point
Large attendance at the memorial unveiling at Riverside
Floral tributes at the memorials

An end in sight for lane restriction on Riverside Drive

Following concerns expressed by constituents that a coned-off lane restriction on the busy Riverside Drive at the site of the Tay Rail Bridge has been in place since late last year, I raised the matter with Dundee City Council to find out when the coned off area will be back to normal traffic.   The cones were put in place during November 2011 following a vehicle hitting the bridge.

The City Council’s Head of Transportation advised me :

“This is a deliberate section of temporary traffic management to ensure that no further vehicle strikes occur.  The City Engineer’s Structural engineers have undertaken a survey and we (City Engineer / Transportation and Planning) are considering a permanent layout that will prevent any further bridge strikes in the future.”

I have now been advised by the City Engineer :

“The works have now been designed which involves some kerb realignment in the central reserve to ensure that minimum headroom to the bridge is achieved above the carriageway.
Network Rail have just recently completed repairs to the damaged plate girder utilising the traffic management measures in place. 
The kerb realignment works have still to be fully programmed but will start sometime in April for a period of approximately 2 weeks.”

I am pleased that there is an end in sight to the coned-off traffic management at the rail bridge on Riverside Drive.   Its an extremely busy section of road with a large traffic volume so the removal of the coned area and safety works will be welcomed.

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust newsletter

On this, the 132nd Anniversary of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster, its good to note that the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust has issued its first newsletter in time for this festive season.   

As one of the trustees of the Trust, its really pleasing to see the progress the Trust is making towards its aim of a proper and lasting memorial to the victims of the 1879 disaster.

You can read the newsletter at http://tinyurl.com/TRBMTnews.

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster on TV tonight …

As an active member of the trustees of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust, I am pleased to advise of a fascinating TV programme to be first screened tonight.

Molly Brown, Peter Yolland and Jennifer Leigh explore how their ancestors were all involved in the Tay Bridge disaster of 1879. 

It is on the Yesterday channel at 9pm tonight – Thursday 15th December – Freeview channel 12, Sky 537, Virgin Media 203.

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust fundraiser : Five Pound and Twa Bairns

A new production of Five Pound and Twa Bairns, featuring several of the original cast, is to be staged at the Dundee Rep Theatre during the week of 9th January 2012. 

This production will help to raise awareness of and funding for the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust and consideration is also being given to the musical play being performed as part of a Gala night at Balgonie Castle, Fife.

Further information is available at the Dundee Rep website at :

Congratulations Shahbaz!

Many congratulations to local resident Shahbaz Majeed who, in the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year 2011 Competition has recently won the Network Rail ‘Lines in the Landscape’ Award.

And isn’t his winning photograph of the Tay Rail Bridge superb :
Shahbaz was winner of the West End Christmas Week photographic competition that we ran in 2009 and all of us involved with West End Christmas Week are delighted at Shahbaz’s latest success!

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust – latest update

As the Minutes Secretary of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust, I was pleased to see the recent Courier article about the Trust’s search in bid to pay tribute to all Tay Bridge Disaster victims.

Ian Nimmo White, the Trust’s hard-working Vice Chair, has recently written an update on Trust activities :

“The coming year, starting in September, is going to be a hectic one for the Trust. We’ll be appearing at a number of festivals, including Tay Roots at Discovery Point, Fife Family History at Rothes Halls, and hopefully others in Dundee and Fife later in the year. Fund-raising events planned are a second “Gael’s Fire” at the castle home of our Chairman, Stuart the Younger of Balgonie, a steam railway journey, with the help of John B. Cameron, famous Scottish farmer and railway enthusiast, and a play running for one week at Dundee Rep. entitled “Five Pound and Twa Bairns” based on the plight of Mary Watson who lost a husband and two sons in the tragedy The Trust would also like to get out and about in public in Dundee sometime to with collection buckets.

What is especially encouraging is the interest shown by Fife and Dundee schools. Both the Directors of Education for Dundee and Fife have committed to the work of the Memorial Trust and a number of their headteachers, both at high school and primary level, have been in touch. Of course, each school has the right of being involved to the degree they wish to be and at a time which is suitable, based on the options outlined by the Trust’s officers. Headteachers of schools wanting to be on board please get in touch – info@thetaymemorial.com

Additionally, heritage groups, like Markinch, Falkland, and the Fraternity of Masters and Seamen in Dundee, are lined up for talks on the Disaster by our officers, and hopefully will donate towards the effort. There are senior citizens’ groups approaching us as well.  I’ve been doing what I call “Walkabouts” recently, simply knocking on doors and handing leaflets to people. It’s surprising just how much people know about the Disaster, how much they want to talk about it, and how supportive they are of the work of the Trust. The disaster which followed the Disaster, namely the disregard for the identity of up to 75 people whose deaths were both untimely and horrendous, can now be righted, but we need the help of the public and the businesses / industries / organisations of Tayside and Fife. Please donate, either electronically at http://tinyurl.com/helptaymemorial or traditionally to Ian Rae, Treasurer of the TRBDMT, 11 Wilmington Drive, Glenrothes, KY7 6US. Make cheques out to “Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust.” 

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust meeting

Last night, I was minute-taker at the latest meeting of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust at the Vine in Magdalen Yard Road.

The Trust is going from strength to strength and, in the autumn, Trust office-bearers are giving talks to various societies and schools across Dundee and Fife on the 1879 disaster and the work of the Trust.

You can read more about the Trust’s work on its website – www.thetaymemorial.com.

Network Rail graffiti problem

There’s a lot of very prominent graffiti on the rail buildings at the north end of the Tay Rail Bridge, adjacent to Riverside Approach/Riverside Drive.

The photo (right) is of part of the south side of the buildings;  the graffiti on the north side is large, unsightly and there’s rather a lot of it.    

At my request, the City Council’s graffiti team contacted Network Rail some weeks ago asking that this mess be removed.    Network Rail logged the request but the graffiti is still there.

I have been in touch with Network Rail and am assured that their Community Relations Manager for Scotland will look into the matter.   Hopefully we will see this graffiti removed soon.

Blackness Fire Station Open Day

I have just returned from a very enjoyable afternoon at the Blackness Fire Station Open Day.

The Open Day was very well-attended by local residents and, as well as displays and demonstrations by Tayside Fire and Rescue, there were numerous community group stands – I was on the Friends of Magdalen Green stand along with colleagues from the Friends.

Here’s a few photos from today :
Some of the stands
Angela Mehlert, Chair of Friends of Magdalen Green and myself
Burning Trays demonstration
Young firefighter in action!
Murray Nicoll on the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust stand

Last couple of days …

* I am pleased to note that some of the dropped kerbing around the Corso Street area that I requested last year on behalf of residents is now being installed – see example at the junction of Corso Street and Peddie Street (above).

* Last night, I attended the Harris Academy Parent Council meeting and, following this, have been in touch with the Head of Secondary Education regarding issues raised.

* I was pleased to be advised by the City Engineer recently that the weeds spraying programme at road edges etc commenced last week.   This year, the programme will start in the west of the city and progress eastwards and am pleased to be assured that extra resources will be put into herbicide application of street trees in streets like Blackness Road and Blackness Avenue.

Today’s Courier featured an update on the concerns I have raised about the large and ugly utility boxes BT Openreach is installing in Conservation Areas such as on Magdalen Green.

* Tonight, I briefly attended the start of the latest WestFest committee meeting and thereafter was minute-taker at the Tay Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust meeting (meeting in the adjacent room at the Vine in Magdalen Yard Road!)

Tuesday and Wednesday …

Yesterday morning, I had a very useful meeting with the City Council’s Head of Transportation about parking issues.    

Last night, I took the minutes at the latest committee meeting of Friends of Magdalen Green, at which we had a very productive discussion on local matters, including consultation with local residents on new BBQ tables on the green and on our forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

This afternoon, I met with another committee member of the group on the Green to look at damage to the grass west of the old bowling green area – see above.   I have reported this matter to the Leisure & Communities Department. 

I then attended the launch of the merger of Tayside Deaf Association with Deaf Action at Discovery Point.   It was a very enjoyable, informative and well-attended event at which there were various speakers including service users and a super performance by the Claypotts Castle Primary School Signing Choir.

Tonight, I took the minutes at the latest committee meeting of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust – a very productive meeting at which we concentrated on fundraising progress.

New Harris Academy – Project Board

Yesterday, I attended the first meeting of the project board that will oversee the Harris Academy rebuilding project.    The board includes Parent Council representatives, a trades union representative, a Harris Academy FP Association representative and the Head Teacher, as well as councillors and officers.

It was a constructive and productive first meeting to oversee a project that will be some years in its delivery.   I asked questions about the role of Historic Scotland, transportation for pupils during the decant period, capital funding and other matters.

Later yesterday, I also attended meetings of the WestFest committee and the Tay Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust committee.

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust Public Appeal Launch – some more photographs

With thanks to Murray Nicoll of the Tay Valley Family History Society, here’s some more photographs from last week’s public appeal launch :

Above :  I introduce the speakers

 Above :    Stuart Morris of Balgonie addresses the audience

Above :   The cast of Five Pound and Twa Bairns

Above : Some of the descendents of the victims of the disaster, who attended the event :

 

Standing rear row, left to right : Nick Brand related to victim George Ness; Stuart Morris of Balgonie related to victims Elizabeth Mann and Elizabeth Brown (grandmother/granddaughter); Robert Thomson related to Robert, David and Robert Watson (father and his 2 sons); Brian Thomson, son of Robert Thomson above.

Front row seated : Sheila Ferguson related to victim Euphemia Rodger; Stella Phillips related to victims Archibald and Jessie Bain (brother and sister); Clare Nicoll related to victims Euphemia Rodger and Elizabeth Mann.

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust Public Appeal Launch

This morning at the McManus Galleries, I attended the launch of the Public Appeal for the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust and had the pleasure of introducing the speakers – Lord Provost John Letford, Depute Provost Lizz Mogg of Fife, Provost Ruth Leslie Melville of Angus and Stuart Morris of Balgonie, Chair of the Trust.

The launch was exceptionally well attended and after the speeches, there was an excellent showcase of Mike Gibb’s Five Pound and Twa Bairns – the musical is being brought back in 2011 in aid of the Memorial Appeal.

Here’s a couple of photos from the event – and there are a couple of videos in the article below :

Lord Provost John Letford welcomes guests – above

The Civic Guests, Stuart Morris and cast members – above

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust meeting

Last night, I was ‘minute taker’ at the latest meeting of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust.   

It was an excellent and productive meeting at which we finalised arrangements for the Launch of the Public Appeal on the 131st anniversary of the disaster – 28th December.   It will take place at McManus Galleries.

We are delighted that the event will be hosted by the Lord Provost of Dundee, John Letford, and Provost Ruth Leslie Melville of Angus and Depute Provost Lizz Mogg of Fife will be in attendance, along with other dignatories.

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust – latest

In advance of the public launch of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust appeal, taking place on 28th December at McManus Galleries, here’s a couple of updates :

* A new website for the group is now available at www.thetaymemorial.com – with grateful thanks to Rose Marie for all her work putting the new site together.

* A superb fundraising event – Gael’s Fire – an evening in the 14th Century – is taking place. See poster below.