Network Rail completes refurbishment of 86-year-old Falkirk bridge

The refurbishment of a Falkirk railway bridge previously branded an eyesore is now complete.

Monday, 5th April 2021, 12:28 pm
Updated Monday, 5th April 2021, 2:12 pm

Network Rail made a commitment to Falkirk Council to give Ladysmill Bridge a makeover following a four-year community campaign involving the Falkirk Made Friends (FMF) group.

Work began at the site in Kerse Lane last October.

Built in 1935, the structure has been cleaned, inspected, repaired and repainted red in a fitting nod to the Glasgow firm that put the bridge in place, PW MacLennan, which was involved in the building of the Forth Bridge.

Falkirk Made Friends members Robert Bissett, chairman; Duncan Comrie, secretary; Bill Paterson; and John Fotheringham beside the refurbished Ladysmill Bridge. Picture: Michael Gillen.

However, the colour of the newly painted structure is also a tribute to the iconic red telephone boxes originally made in Carron Ironworks – one of which stands beside Ladysmill Bridge and is in the process of being revamped by FMF.

Ladysmill Bridge, Falkirk prior to its refurbishment. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Giles Gilbert Scott, the designer of the K6 phone boxes, was also the architect of the Forth Road Bridge.

Duncan Comrie, FMF secretary, said: “Despite the pandemic, Network Rail has honoured its agreement and, in discussion with Falkirk Made Friends and the engineer Gerald Brown, has finished the bridge in historically significant maroon red.

“The red paint reconnects Ladysmill Bridge with many historical and cultural associations.

“All of the beams were shot-blasted and primed and repainted and any damage was rectified. The cross beam at the front was replaced.

“Unfortunately the bridge plaque was located on the cross beam and it would appear it has been lost so we are hoping Network Rail may, in conjunction with the council, replace it with an updated plaque.

“It’s important our heritage is preserved. The central uprights have been better protected and lighting has been improved.

“Also, netting has been installed to prevent to pigeon guano dropping on to the pavement and people. This has been a significant problem for many years.

“New height signage and railings were also fitted. The bridge will now be a welcome sight as we enter Falkirk.”

Councillor Robert Bissett said: “It has made a significant improvement to the area.”

Cllr Bissett also confirmed K6 phone boxes will soon feature on an iron heritage trail which is being overseen by FMF.

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