Council fund allows platform renovations

Construction works: Little Barclay steam engine at platform two of Bridge of Dun station which is currently undergoing extensive repairs.

Construction works: Little Barclay steam engine at platform two of Bridge of Dun station which is currently undergoing extensive repairs.

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Platforms at the Brechin-based Caledonian Railway are currently undergoing extensive renovations thanks to a £60,000 grant from Angus Council.

The funding, part of a £200,000 ‘Survive and Thrive’ cultural heritage tourism fund, was awarded to the charity-run railway to overhaul the decaying platforms at Bridge of Dun station near Montrose.

The railway, which reopens on Easter Sunday, was one of five voluntary organisations who successfully applied to the fund.

Volunteers have been quick to thank the council for the award. Tommy Henderson, project coordinator said: “Angus Council’s ‘Survive and Thrive’ fund is a real lifesaver for the Caledonian Railway - a project like this is hugely important to the future of the operation, but would otherwise be very difficult to finance.”

Volunteer Steve Pegg continued: “People prefer to donate their money to something that they can relate to. Platforms are just not interesting enough and most of our visitors are too busy having a look at the train to notice what they’re standing on.

“In the past five years the railway has re-invested far in excess of £100,000.00 on essential repairs to infrastructure that the public do not see.”

“The grant scheme demonstrates a major commitment to attractions like our own” explained Blair Winton of the railway.

“The railway attracts more than 16,000 visitors to the area each year and there is no doubt they will be pleased to see the improvements. We are sure this will keep us on the right track and help to grow our visitor numbers in future years.”

The platforms, which have had to be patched up on a yearly basis since the railway took over from British Rail in 1981, are being rebuilt with all new platform edging copes and tactile slabs to comply with current railway regulations.

Traditional lime mortar methods are being used to repair the original platform walls, which have also required an extensive amount of work.

It is hoped that one of the platforms will be ready at the end of this month, however the grand reopening is planned to be held at a later date.