Let’s tidy up our park-side railway.

A while back l pointed out how vegetation was beginning to take hold on the retaining wall of the Great Western Railway cut through Sydney Gardens.

The retaining wall is starting to disappear behind the vegetation. Roots will dislodge stone.

This was constructed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his workforce between 1836 and 1841 and part of it is listed.

Network Rail are now responsible for our rail infrastructure and – of course – their multi-million scheme to electrify the line from London to Bristol was interrupted by this government when the power lines reached Swindon.

sydney gardens
How it might have looked with the power lines in place.

Too expensive it seems. So all the plans to clean up this section in the gardens while the pylons were installed has not happened.

While a Heritage Lottery donation is going to help restore and improve Sydney Gardens – the railway cut seems likely to continue to deteriorate.

I put a call into the press office at Network Rail and – finally – this is the reply.

“Safety is our main priority and we dedicate significant resources every summer to cutting back quick-growing vegetation within our infrastructure.

“All lineside vegetation is catalogued and assessed so that it can be managed appropriately.

Should vegetation pose a risk to the safe running of the railway we will ensure that it is dealt with accordingly.”

Not quite the answer l was looking for. This is a listed structure that needs restoring and l am hoping the new ruling party on B&NES will be applying some pressure to encourage this.