Witton Railway Bridge Campaign – Repaint Job Needed
A few weeks ago, an Aston Villa supporter who follows MOMS dropped us a line about his concern about the shabby condition of the Witton Railway Bridge, saying it was time something was done. It’s the same thought most of us have had when we glance up and see the flaking claret and blue paint of the bridge.
The station was opened in 1837 and ever since the birth of Aston Villa football club, due to the station bridge’s close proximity to Villa Park, it has always been a big part of the match-day experience for supporters. I still remember as a kid, seeing the bridge for the first time and thinking how cool it was to be painted in claret and blue.
Well, that paint is now in a rather sorry state.
MOMS spoke to Aston Villa to see what the history over the issue has been from their point of view. The club informed us that due to the importance of the bridge to both the club and local community they have tried on a number of occasions to persuade Network Rail to paint the bridge.
Apparently, at one point around 2006, the club had agreed to part-fund the painting of the bridge with Network Rail, which never happened in the end. The club would also consider organising the painting of the bridge themselves, but of course, Network Rail own the bridge and there are train schedules and road closures involved, which only the rail company can realistically facilitate.
On other issues, such as improved queuing capacity at the train station (which is well overdue), Network Rail have also dragged their heels. Cost-cutting seems to be the order of the day.
It’s MOMS’ opinion, Network Rail are doing a disservice to the image of the club, its supporters and the local community by letting the claret and blue bridge fall into ill repair.
The club have offered to contact Network Rail again to inform them that supporters are asking for it to be done. We’ve also requested it be put on the agenda for the Aston Villa Supporters Trust. But of course, when dealing with the wheels of bureaucracy, stronger action is always needed…
So, it’s time for Villa supporters to take action and lobby Network Rail for the long overdue repainting of the bridge. As well as directly lobbying Network Rail, we will organise a petition for supporters to all to sign, a social media campaign, the lobbying of the local MP, and due to its community value, there maybe even legal grounds to pursue too.
In the meantime, if you want to help out, or if you are a supporter who’s got any insight about the bridge or live local to the bridge, drop us a comment below or email us on [email protected]