New passenger footbridge installed at Westgate railway station

The new footbridge Photo Jamie Horton

By John Horton with additional photos from Jamie Horton

A new footbridge has been installed at Westgate railway station.

The bridge was put in place yesterday (May 16) by a team from BAM Nuttall limited, with close working direction of Network Rail. The old bridge is due to be removed at the end of the month.

The shade of green used on the bridge is malachite and the handrails are sunshine yellow – the colours of The Southern Railway in 1923 when the “Big 4” were formed by the government, amalgamating 150 railway companies into  The LMS, ( The London, Midland and Scottish Railway ) The SR, ( Southern Region) The GWR ( Great Western Railway) and the LNER( London and North Eastern Railway).

Photo John Horton

Westgate Station opened on October 5, 1853 and was part of the London Chatham and Dover Railway on the North Kent route to Thanet. At that time it included Ramsgate Harbour station.

Photo Jamie Horton

Access to the “up” and “down” side for passengers constituted a wooden foot crossing at the Birchington end of the platforms respectively. However this set up was challenged by the Board of Trade and, in 1895, the footbridge was installed.

Photo John Horton

This boasted a curved corrugated iron roof to protect passengers from the weather, although  the bottom half was open to the elements and there was no glass walls. (The plate on the bridge mistakenly states it was constructed in 1896).

The covered curved roof remained in situ until it was removed in 1981.

Photo John Horton

At 124 years old, the bridge was showing its age and did not reach stringent safety requirements which are now in force. It will be removed on May 30/31. Heavy lifting equipment will be used, cables will take the strain and weight of the bridge and then it will be cut into two sections and sent off for scrap.

Did you know…

Photo Jamie Horton

Westgate boasts the most bridges at any railway station in Thanet – St Mildred’s Road bridge over the line, the new footbridge, the old footbridge and the large steel bridge Margate end, between Roxburgh Road/ Westbury Road.

16 Comments

  1. Finally this has happened as chair of the former Thanet travel forum I and members pushed for this with southeastern new bridge is ok for able bodied to cross over to catch train to London the station is still not disabled friendly all stations in between should have lifts installed.

    • It doesn’t have to be a disability friendly bridge – there is adequate access has been since it was opened over 124 yrs ago – the St Mildreds Road bridge provides an adequate access to and from Station Road/ Westbury Road. There would be little point in providing lifts on an unstaffed station for 20 hrs of the day – it would be wrecked and vandalised in a short period of time. Be thankful you dont live at Herne Bay – there’s no bridge or access across the line to adjacent platforms, customers with special needs have to travel to Margate and catch a train back to go to London or catch a train to Faversham and come back to get to Margate.

  2. This line terminated at Ramsgate Harbour,not Ramsgate Town, which was the terminus of the line from Ashford. There was also a line from Ramsgate Town directly to a Margate Station for frieght only, although there is some evidence of passenger use.

  3. The original Margate station was before Dreamland or hall by the sea was the Margate station the current Margate station then would have had frieght alongside was the goods yard nowadays it’s a housing estate called Mergate.

    • The original Margate Station never received Royal Accent and despite being opened officially by the towns folk, it was closed the very next day and never carried a passenger. The current Margate station was totally rebuilt in 1924 and opened 2nd July 1926 teh same day Ramsgate Harbour and Town stations closed.

  4. John Horton I know the road is further down if you are around the shops side the side where the booking office is never open if you have maybe five or ten minutes to catch the London train it would be quicker from that side via a lift.i don’t know if you use a wheelchair I don’t mean scooters it is hard work for Manuel users.

  5. A few points.
    At the grouping in 1923 the Southern had a livery for stations of ‘Olive green’ and yellow.
    Malachite green was not used until in the Bulleid era and was much brighter.During the war locomotives were black with sunshine yellow lettering.After the war many but not all locomotives and coaches were painted in malachite green and sunshine yellow lining and lettering.
    Westgate was part of the LCDR system which indeed run to Ramsgate Harbour.Margate had 3 stations East,West and Sands and two different railways the LCDR and SER. Margate Sands,+ Margate East closed in 1926 + 1953 respectively.
    Margate West was renamed Margate and was rebuilt by Scott and Fry in 1926, when the new Ramsgate station was built.Ramsgate town looked rather like Canterbury West and closed in 1926 along with Ramsgate Harbour.It was rather an odd station as trains for Margate had to reverse there and then head for Margate sands.

    • 1923 Richard you were not born so how can you say at the?

      Wow looking damn good for your vintage x

      just get the seafront built in ramsgate will you x

      I want to buy a luxury apartment

  6. Interesting that is has been painted green & yellow, which are the current colours of Southern Railway, not Southeastern which is blue. There has been talk of a mega-merger between Southern, Southeastern, and Thameslink for some time and since they’re sort-of all owned by the same (French) companies anyway wouldn’t be a surprise. Although with the current crisis who knows what will happen.

  7. To tidy up and enlarge on the history, and make one or two corrections:
    1. The line from Herne Bay to Ramsgate Harbour was opened on 5th October 1863 by the Margate Railway, a subsidiary of the London Chatham and Dover Railway. The LCDR worked it from the beginning and formally took it over in 1871.
    2. The stations at Birchington-on-Sea, Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate Harbour were opened with the line, but Margate East (then known as East Margate) was added in 1870, and Westgate-on-Sea in April 1871. Finances were tighter by then, hence the basic wooden structure of the booking hall (which nonetheless has lasted nearly 150 years). To me, growing up in Westgate, it always had a cosy, friendly “feel” to it.
    3. The original terminus station at Margate was not used because powers had been obtained to extend to Ramsgate. The terminus became the goods yard and engine shed (alongside the footpath that runs from the station forecourt to the southern end of Westbrook Road), and new platforms were built on the rather inconvenient curve where they are today, to allow the line to be extended to Broadstairs and Ramsgate.
    4. The goods yard to the south of Margate station was added in 1926, when the station was enlarged and encroached on the old goods yard. It’s this later goods yard that has become a housing estate.
    5. The London Chatham and Dover Railway and rival South Eastern Railway entered an agreement to pool their assets in January 1899, and the new joint committee was known as the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR, or Slow, Easy and Comfortable, as some described it!). It became part of the newly-formed Southern Railway on 1st January 1923, and British Railways (Southern Region) on 1st January 1948.
    6. Shame another use couldn’t have been found for the old bridge.

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