Network Rail withdraws cash offer for community projects in Middleton St George following criticism of bridge improvement works

Dinsdale Station bridge, which has undergone improvement works

Dinsdale Station bridge, which has undergone improvement works

First published in News
Last updated

A COUNCILLOR has accused Network Rail of trying to gag members of a parish council after it withdrew funding to help pay for community projects in a Darlington village.

The bridge at Dinsdale Station, in Middleton St George, reopened last week following five months of improvement work.

The old bridge has been replaced with a taller structure to allow freight trains to use the line, which links Teesport and the East Coast Main Line.

Residents have complained about a number of issues during the work, including the appearance of the new bridge, traffic disruption and safety risks posed by the redesign.

Before the work was carried out, Network Rail offered to send a team of volunteers to the village to undertake voluntary work, as well as offering to donate £1,000 to a community project in the village.

However, in a letter to the parish council, project manager Andrew Farnworth said the offer - which he described as “discretionary and in the interests of goodwill” – has now been withdrawn due to the parish council’s criticism of the work.

He said: “Unfortunately, I would need to get approval for both of these and now that Network Rail is facing public criticism from the parish council I am not prepared to seek this approval and so I must withdraw my earlier offers.”

Ward Councillor Steve York said: “The village was always in favour of the work, but the bridge now looks unsightly and we are left with it in this village for a very long time now.

“It is just one final go at the village which they really didn’t need to do.”

Speaking at a meeting of Darlington Borough Council, ward Councillor Doris Jones said: “Since when did Northern Rail have authority to gag elected members in the town?

“Northern Rail haven’t got enough money in the bank to gag me.”

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said: “Any such community activity requires cooperation with local stakeholders but we received no response to our communications until very recently as the team finished work.”

Comments (4)

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6:32pm Sat 1 Feb 14

capt manners says...

Good for you Network rail!!!!
Only doing the work to provide a safer service for the residents and end up getting none stop stick like every other project which is proposed or gets the go ahead in this ever so upmarket village!
Good for you Network rail!!!! Only doing the work to provide a safer service for the residents and end up getting none stop stick like every other project which is proposed or gets the go ahead in this ever so upmarket village! capt manners
  • Score: 0

6:42am Mon 3 Feb 14

RicPou says...

This is intriguing as Middleton St George was served by Teesside Airport Station, I stayed there for a week in 1975. It has what must have the worst service of any station in the UK, let alone England. It used to be 1 train per week. This line has had several station's services killed off by attrition, specifically Grangetown, one of the most depressed housing areas in the country, just west of Redcar. Also Cargo Fleet was starved of it's service. South Bank survives on a thread. Simple improvements, a clean Macemain shelter and even the hourly stopper calling might help!
Dinsdale's service was cut to two hourly, but has been boosted recently to half hourly for much of the day. Can be done! Come on Network Rail and Northern Trains. Get your act together and get it sorted!
This is intriguing as Middleton St George was served by Teesside Airport Station, I stayed there for a week in 1975. It has what must have the worst service of any station in the UK, let alone England. It used to be 1 train per week. This line has had several station's services killed off by attrition, specifically Grangetown, one of the most depressed housing areas in the country, just west of Redcar. Also Cargo Fleet was starved of it's service. South Bank survives on a thread. Simple improvements, a clean Macemain shelter and even the hourly stopper calling might help! Dinsdale's service was cut to two hourly, but has been boosted recently to half hourly for much of the day. Can be done! Come on Network Rail and Northern Trains. Get your act together and get it sorted! RicPou
  • Score: 2

4:05pm Mon 3 Feb 14

onionseller says...

The brickwork looks appalling.
I wouldn't have in my garden.
Any local builder would have done a better job
Network rail have spat their dummy out big style.
The brickwork looks appalling. I wouldn't have in my garden. Any local builder would have done a better job Network rail have spat their dummy out big style. onionseller
  • Score: 3

7:17pm Mon 3 Feb 14

traceyc25 says...

capt manners wrote:
Good for you Network rail!!!!
Only doing the work to provide a safer service for the residents and end up getting none stop stick like every other project which is proposed or gets the go ahead in this ever so upmarket village!
Network rail did the work kn the bridge for there benefit not the villages, im sure the residents werent all that bothered where freight trains fit under it or not, I use the bridge daily and it is a rather cack handed job and not one that can be hidden as it is right slap bang in the middle of the village :(
[quote][p][bold]capt manners[/bold] wrote: Good for you Network rail!!!! Only doing the work to provide a safer service for the residents and end up getting none stop stick like every other project which is proposed or gets the go ahead in this ever so upmarket village![/p][/quote]Network rail did the work kn the bridge for there benefit not the villages, im sure the residents werent all that bothered where freight trains fit under it or not, I use the bridge daily and it is a rather cack handed job and not one that can be hidden as it is right slap bang in the middle of the village :( traceyc25
  • Score: 2

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