Railway Welcomes Common Sense Approach By NI Water On Storm Piping Works
The Downpatrick and County Down Railway has welcomed the common sense approach now being taken by Northern Ireland Water over the new storm pumping main pipe planned to go through the heritage railway grounds.
A Robert Gardiner, vice-chairman and spokesperson for the DCDR said: “Rather than adopting the original route which, as reported last October, would see the pipe pushed through the middle of the station yard underneath the new station archway.
“This would require the lifting of all five lines at the widest part of the heritage railway’s yard – as well as potentially prohibiting future visitor facility enhancement projects such as improvements to the station amongst others.
“Following negotiations between the DCDR and NI Water, the pipeline route will now go along the outside perimeter fence between the DCDR complex and the ASDA shopping centre, and cross the railway under an existing level crossing.
“This week work began on its installation, which will be completed in time for our next running day on the 26th May, which involves the temporary removal by NI Water’s contractors of the rail lines out of the station.
“However in a very interesting development, due to the depth the pipe is being laid, the contractors have come across the original brushwood foundations of the railway embankment.
“When the railway was being constructed across the Downpatrick Marshes in the mid-1850’s, the embankment was essentially “floated” across the marshes on bundles of brushwood, supplied from the nearby Holymount Forest.
“It is amazing to see this brushwood foundation that we’ve read so much about in histories of the old Belfast & County Down Railway, and it is mindboggling to think that this Victorian-era wood is still doing the job it was designed to do 150 years on!”