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).
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.