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The South Devon Railway Thread

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by johnofwessex, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    To be fair, the SDR has suffered in the past from vandalism to coaches at Buckfastleigh, and being unable to block access to their Totnes station at night would open up the site to vandals and thieves. I read the local paper's report and a lady was saying that Staverton station was open - however, just because Staverton is not blocked off at night doesn't mean that other stations should not be. There is a lot of stock and buildings at Totnes Riverside. The SDR is offering to help with alternatives for a new cyclepath, so it would be wrong to call them obstructive.

    Also, cyclists and families with small children are not a good mix on a narrow pathway across the bridge. My experience of cyclists is that they moan about being bullied by car drivers, but they are happy to bully pedestrians.

    John
     
  2. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    To be fair, the SDR has suffered in the past from vandalism to coaches at Buckfastleigh, and being unable to block access to their Totnes station at night would open up the site to vandals and thieves. I read the local paper's report and a lady was saying that Staverton station was open - however, just because Staverton is not blocked off at night doesn't mean that other stations should not be. There is a lot of stock and buildings at Totnes Riverside. The SDR is offering to help with alternatives for a new cyclepath, so it would be wrong to call them obstructive.

    Also, cyclists and families with small children are not a good mix on a narrow pathway across the bridge. My experience of cyclists is that they moan about being bullied by car drivers, but they are happy to bully pedestrians.

    John
     
  3. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    It seems to me that there is a much more persuasive argument in this quote from the article

    “The bridge was built for pedestrian traffic only and so is not suitable or wide enough for safely mixing regular cycle traffic with families with buggies and wheelchair users due to its length, limited width and the tight, ‘U’ bend, approach ramp. We are the legal owners of the bridge and have full responsibility for all the costs of its maintenance and repair, and this also includes the legal duty of care for the safety of its users.

    I wonder if there is a bit of a 'there is a bridge ergo we will use it' mindset without addressing its suitability.

    Now were the SDR to commission a report saying it isnt safe for cyclists in addition to existing users then they might sound more constructive
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Having used that bridge in times past I would not be happy having to share it with cyclists, many of whom seem to think that pedestrians should give way to them. It is relatively narrow, which is all that is needed for its present use. Before the cycling brigade call foul, I'm not tarring all with the same brush.
     
  5. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    All replies are valid. But this subject keeps getting in the news. The two sides need to come to some agreement. As much of the funding for the bridge was public funds, there is naturally some hostile feeling about the bridge being exclusive.
     
  6. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Letter sent to the paper tonight


    Dear Mr Clark,

    It is sadly a few years ago that I last used the bridge over the River Dart giving access t The South Devon Railway station at Littlehempston.

    I see it is now in the news for possibly the wrong reasons

    https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/bizarre-bridge-situation-slammed-incredulous-2261753

    It seems to me at the moment that there may be a bit of an
    attitude of 'There is a bridge here ergo we will run the cycle path over it' irrespective of its suitability.

    The South Devon Railway are quoted as saying


    “The bridge was built for pedestrian traffic only and so is not suitable or wide enough for safely mixing regular cycle traffic with families with buggies and wheelchair users due to its length, limited width and the tight, ‘U’ bend, approach ramp. We are the legal owners of the bridge and have full responsibility for all the costs of its maintenance and repair, and this also includes the legal duty of care for the safety of its users.
    I see nothing in the article that suggests that South Hams Council have addressed these legitimate concerns.

    Clearly were The Council to commission a report into the suitability of the bridge, and if it were suitable come up with a proposal to address the railways concerns about maintenance and public liability then Councillors would be in a much stronger position to criticize the railway were they to rebuff their approaches. At the moment however I suggest that unless such a report and associated proposals are placed in the public domain the Council is simply throwing its weight around and wasting the Railways time.

    Yours Faithfully
     
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  7. mikechant

    mikechant Member

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    As a recent visitor I can only agree with the railway's assesment that the bridge is unsuitably narrow for this purpose.
     
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  8. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    It could be assumed, by some people, that if pedestrians are able to pass others with buggies and wheelchairs then a dismounted bicycle should present little problem.
     
  9. mikechant

    mikechant Member

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    That would be great. Unfortunately my experience suggests a 'cyclists dismount' sign would be ignored by at least 50% of cyclists. There was a narrow bridge in Nottingham over a canal inlet which I used to walk over regularly, it had these signs and they were widely ignored; to cross safely as a pedestrian you had to wait until there were no cyclists in sight and then nip over sharpish. This bridge was replaced a few years ago with a much wider bridge, to make it safer for pedestrians...
     
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  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    If you make dismounting mandatory, then it is not a cycle path - it’s a footpath. In any case, a “please dismount” would almost inevitably be followed more in the breach than the observance - not condoning that fact, merely observing it.

    It also sounds like it isn’t, by definition, a public right of way, the route involving use of a private lane and a bridge that is sometimes locked shut

    It seems the council want a public right of way cycle path, and something open 24/7. The railway have a footbridge, not open 24/7. So the bridge isn’t what the council want, and, it seems to me, can’t readily be made into what they want. It seems to me that the railway have a reasonable position, particularly while they retain liability for its upkeep and use.

    Tom
     
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  11. DragonHandler

    DragonHandler Well-Known Member

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    And cyclists always obey signs that say "cyclists dismount" don't they?
     
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  12. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    That could well be the answer, a replacement, suitable bridge open 24/7. I am not sure whether another could be sited close to the one under discussion, it is some years since I walked the path alongside the River Dart, but it would have to be close to this existing bridge as far as I can see. If this was to happen then the scare about vandalism of course would arise so the line would have to make plans to protect their site; that might be an expensive option. As always, there are pros and cons to many things.
     
  13. MAPLE CHRIS

    MAPLE CHRIS New Member

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    the bridge is unsuitable for cyclists as its too narrow who pays when someone is seriously injured also where would the cyclepath go to
     
  14. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    Tough for pedestrians, but cyclists are above the law, and don't need to obey signs.
     
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  15. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I know it's not very helpful in this debate but;

    :)
     
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  16. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Probably as much as they obey traffic lights and don't cycle on footpaths.
     
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  17. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    The cyclepath already exists:
    https://www.exploredevon.info/activities/cycle/dart-valley-cycleway/
    If it is too narrow for a cyclist then it must be too narrow for buggies or wheelchairs. But it isn't.
     
  18. Will Derbyshire

    Will Derbyshire New Member

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    Its not like they are completely Isolated, they just don't have a dedicated cycle route, in which case there is the existing A385 road bridge over the river? Slightly longer route but, hey....get a bike :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  19. MAPLE CHRIS

    MAPLE CHRIS New Member

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    as the cyclepath already exists why do they need to use the bridge as this only goes to the station or am I missing something.
     
  20. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Not sure you are, but obviously someone thinks they do and has encouraged local authorities to consider it all. No dog in the fight, too many hills here for elderly cyclists. :D
     

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