Our railway – the line from Syston to Peterborough – is part of the rail link between Birmingham and the port of Felixstowe. We have always had a certain amount of goods traffic through Stamford, particularly the cement trains from Ketton just down the track, but since the line was upgraded to take container traffic our freight services have become faster, heavier and much more frequent.
The upgrading work involved the tunnel and platform alignments but after the container trains started using the line doubts were raised about the clearance of the canopy fascia and it was removed as an interim precaution. This had an unexpected effect on the canopy itself, one which was spectacularly obvious from our kitchen window on the second floor. In the picture above of 66743 batting through Stamford with a long train of containers for Felixstowe, the window can be glimpsed just below the bridge deck. The kitchen had a good view of the upper side of the canopy and of the updraught effect of every passing container train, which caused the canopy to behave in a manner similar to Marilyn Monroe’s frock.
We bleated about this to any Network Rail person who was prepared to listen and eventually someone came up to our kitchen to see the effect for himself. He must have been properly startled because the canopy was rapidly removed and in a commendably short space of time designs for a replacement – with fascia – were submitted for listed building consent. The plans can be seen on the local authority web site : the new designs are here and the whole application can be found here.
The proposed Midland Railway style canopy certainly looks a whole lot smarter than the old corrugated iron eyesore. Meanwhile NR have lent us a bus shelter, so at least there can be six dry passengers on each train.
Update (July 2015) The local authority granted listed building consent on 31 March. So far no visible progress, but presumably the components have to be specially made before work can start.
Update 2 (October 2015) Network Rail has revised its plans and submitted a new application. I’m doing a new post on this, currently in course of preparation.