From the Stirling Observer 14 March 2018
Dunblane councillors met Network Rail to discuss the new concrete parapets at the town's railway bridge. Terence O'Byrne of the local community council said he was "apoplectic" at the finish and design of the new structures on the Perth Road Bridge. And Dunblane and Bridge of Allan councillor Graham Houston added that it "stuck out like a sore thumb" and resembled nothing more than a "blank white wall" The rail giant were called upon to make changes to the parapets to make them more attractive and in keeping with the surrounding landscape. Officials agreed to meet members of Dunblane Community Council, including Mr O'Byrne, to discuss the issue last week. And Mr O'Byrne told the Observer that the potential of a smooth, stone finish on the road-facing side was discussed. Work has been ongoing to partially replace the road bridge as part of the project to electrify the railway line between Dunblane, Stirling and Alloa. The north section of the bridge is too low for the overhead cables which will be introduced. Network Rail say that the parapets on the new structure comply with modern safety standards, are designed to keep pedestrians safe from the overhead power lines and can withstand a vehicle striking the side of the bridge.
From the Stirling Observer 28 February 2018
Concrete parapets erected at the railway bridge in Dunblane have been described as a"carbuncle"- with community councillors set to meet Network Rail to discuss the issue next week.
Terence O'Byrne of Dunblane Community Council says he is "apoplectic" at the finish and design of the new structures on the Perth Road Bridge, while Dunblane and Bridge of Allan councillor Graham Houston says it "sticks out like a sore thumb". They are calling on the rail giant to make changes to the parapets in order to ensure they are more aesthetically pleasing, and in- keeping with the surrounding landscape of the town. Work has been ongoing to partially replace the road bridge as part of proposals to electrify the railway line between Dunblane, Stirling and Alloa. The north section of the bridge is too low for the new overhead electric cables which will be introduced. Network Rail representatives are to visit the town next week to meet with community councillors and hear about the concerns.
Chairperson of the community council, Mr O'Byrne, said: "Dunblane Community Council is apoplectic about the finish and design of the new concrete parapets on the rail bridge project. "It is our view that the structure is a carbuncle that will remain in place for centuries. "We have asked for a high level meeting with Network Rail to discuss changes that will make them more acceptable. These changes will include a request to face the bare concrete in stone and to erect a new parapet to remove the various ugly corners which would do justice to chicanes on a Formula 1 circuit."
He added: "We asked for a stone finish many long months ago but were turned down by Network Rail on the grounds that stone finishes can be climbed. "If it is good enough for the southern parapet then it is good enough for the new northern parapet. We will be involving the rail regulator and Keith Brown MSP in our campaign to get this sorted out."
Councillor Houston gave his backing to calls from Mr O'Byrne for action to be taken. He said: "The finish on the new bridge is no more than a blank white wall which appears to be an open invitation to graffiti artists to use. It is not acceptable and must be changed. "The people of Dunblane have endured months of disruption to traffic and parking but understand the need for this work to be carried out. They have been very patient and put up with the inconvenience over the months. "I would hope that Network Rail recognise the patience shown by the residents and do everything in their power to ensure when the work is finished the bridge finish sites naturally in the landscape of the town blending into the overall appearance. 'What can be seen at present sticks out like a sore thumb and suggests Network Rail are doing this a cheaply as they can. Network Rail must sort this while their contractor is on site until the end of next month.
The Observer spoke to a number of people out and about in Dunblane this week who were keen to have their say on their town's new structure. Kevin Gordon said: "It's a hideous blank canvas - and it has taken far too long. It's just terrible." Kenneth Murray added: "It was a bit of a surprise to see how it has turned out. The design is not how I'd have expected, and it's a bit more obtrusive than I'd have thought." And Duncan Strathdee said: "It's certainly interesting. I think it's fair to say that. It's not what we were expecting anyway."
A spokesperson for Network Rail said: "The parapets on the new structure comply with modem road and rail safety standards. They are designed to keep pedestrians safe from overhead power lines running beneath the structure and to withstand a vehicle striking the side of the bridge."