Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Gantries meetings called off

A PUBLIC consultation on new designs for overhead gantries that could be installed along the railway line through Goring has been cancelled.

Network Rail has called off the event, which was due to take place at the village hall tomorrow (Saturday), after campaigners said its proposals would not solve the problems caused by the existing structures.

The solid steel gantries, which will eventually hold up overhead cables, were built in 2015 to prepare for electrification of the route from London to Oxford.

Residents complained that they were too bulky and spoiled the appearance of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The parish council and the Chilterns Conservation Board expressed similar views.

The Goring Gap Railway Action Group threatened a legal challenge, saying Network Rail had failed in its duty to preserve the AONB, so the company promised to consult on alternatives.

However, when it showed its ideas to the campaigners last week, they said they were still too obtrusive and therefore unacceptable.

Network Rail says it will continue working with its advisory group, which includes members of the Chilterns Conservation Board and Natural England, to explore alternatives.

A revised timetable for consultation will then be published. The company has warned that the gantries may still not be replaced if no funding is available.

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