Darley Dale Footbridge

The original Darley Dale footbridge arrived back at the Rowsley South site from Midland Railway, Ripley, on 10 October 2010.

We have submitted a small number of grant applications to help with the restoration, and to date, have been successful with one. This is specifically to fund the production of four missing cast iron finials for the landings. The delivery of these will give us a complete bridge “kit” again. The ex-Bamford signal box has been removed from the site of the bridge footings at Darley Dale, which was previously a physical obstacle to the bridge’s re-instatement.

The missing support columns was both a financial and psychological problem. However, these have been remanufactured to the original Midland design. These are now on site at Rowsley South. In February 2016 the successors to Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby Museums Trust, kindly donated their sections of the bridge to the DWVRT.

The trust has a great deal of respect for volunteers toiling for years to restore an item of derelict rolling stock or a building, but unfortunately the footbridge does not readily lend itself to this pattern of work. The bridge is a deceptively complex structure which, whilst over engineered, needs to be rebuilt from start to finish to a high standard to be safe for use. This means that when the money is raised, everything will be packed off to a contractor to assemble and then return later ready to be put up. The cost even includes erecting the whole bridge in their warehouse as a dummy run! Some volunteer input is required to remove some of the platework and a few rivets. This will save the contractors time (and our money) in the dismantling phase.

The Derwent & Wye Valley Railway Trust will continue to promote this project as a flagship for the railway. It is a unique story of a redundant railway structure not only surviving being dismantled for use elsewhere, but then actually coming back to where it started. It will hugely enhance Darley Dale Station in appearance and improve the experience of staff and passengers there.

With the completion of the bridge, we join the ranks of railways with experience of delivering medium sized projects and opens up the path for future infrastructure works, both within and outside of the trust. Timing is crucial; with the completion of the Up and Down platforms and the columns sat waiting, the bridge is the next natural step.

The trust is very appreciative of the generous financial given by people to support the project. Further funding is needed to complete the footbridge. An expression of interest submitted to the Heritage Fund has received a positive reception but further hurdles have to be cleared before a full application can be submitted. These are hand and the trust plans to progress the application in 2020. Contributions will be gratefully received and don’t forget, donations to DWVRT qualify for Gift Aid.

©Stan Roberts Collection