Poignant legacy of bridge for Laurieston mum

Klara Gardiner is presented with a canvas of Callender Glen Bridge by  rail engineer Steven McIlroy
Klara Gardiner is presented with a canvas of Callender Glen Bridge by rail engineer Steven McIlroy

A bridge that has stood the test of time since 1850 has been demolished but it has left a lasting legacy for one mother.

Callendar Glen Bridge near Laurieston was removed as part of the clearance works for Network Rail’s Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) – the electrification of the rail line across the central belt of Scotland between the two cities.

Network Rail said that as the path bridge had been unused for a number of years it was no longer required. It had to be removed to ensure there is enough height clearance to run overhead electrification cables safely along the track.

Klara Gardiner (87), who lives near it, fondly remembers her children Derek, Jim, Malcolm, Barbara and Helene playing on the bridge when they were young, while her husband James was a linesman on local lines for 45 years.

Her connection to the railway was furthered when son Derek followed in his father’s footsteps. However, he was one of three track workers killed in an accident near Polmont in August 1983 when he was just 21.

After telling her story to workers on the EGIP project, they decided to make her a keepsake in the form of canvas picture of the bridge.

Alex Blair, EGIP works manager, said: “We met Mrs Gardiner when we started working in the area last October.

“The bridge has a particular meaning for her, given she’s lived near it for most of her life and also the personal connection she has with the railway. We wanted to present her with something that acknowledges this.”

The railway at this location was authorised under the Stirlingshire Midland Junction Railway Act 1846 and it is believed the Victorian bridge was constructed around 1850.

Mrs Gardiner said: “It was very thoughtful of Alex and his team to provide me with this lasting reminder of Callender Glen Bridge, it means a great deal to me.

“While the bridge is no longer there, I have my own permanent version of it that I can enjoy looking at every day.”

The bridge works were due to be completed by the end of January. Electrification will bring faster journeys between Glasgow and Edinburgh.