EXCLUSIVE: Could this be the end of the road for 12 iconic arches that reflect the Golden Age of Rail?
PUBLISHED: 10:26 01 May 2013 | UPDATED: 14:07 01 May 2013
THEY nestle alongside the busy A141 and remind passers by of the glorious years of rail but now these 12 iconic arches are set for demolition.
Chatteris businessman Silvio Perna has bought them and wants to remove them to make way for housing.
His agent Ken Elener has told Fenland planners: “It is a structure, not a building. It is not listed or noted of local interest.
“The arches are falling into disrepair. They have had no maintenance since 1982 and one of the reasons for their decommission was the cost of maintaining them.
“The council has got to come up with a good reason why it should not be demolished and indicate what it should be used for.”
Mr Elener says if approval is given the arches will be demolished by hand and bricks will be reclaimed for re-use.
The railway line came into existence in about 1867 and at its peak in the 1920s and 1930s seven thousand wagons would pass through each day.
Vegetables, goods and groceries that were grown in Fenland were shipped up to industrial areas such as Doncaster and Sheffield and the returning trains would bring down coal.
Of the archive photos of the bridge when it was still in use, two were taken by Gerard Fletcher, better known for his daily blog about Fenland buses.
In August 2000 he took the photo of the pair of Class 20 locomotives taking freight from Whitemoor and crossing the viaduct over the A141 at Rings End on the March to Spalding line.
“In the right background can be seen the Black Hart pub owned by Wisbech brewers Elgoods,” said Gerard.
“This was closed in the 1980s and is remembered for having a pre-decimal jukebox right up to the end, suitable coinage could be bought from the hatch as I seem to recall there was no bar as such.
“When the pub closed it was the only ‘Black Hart’ in the country, so Elgoods transferred the name to what was then the ‘Black Horse’ at Thorney Toll on the A47.” It has latterly been a Chinese restaurant.
Mr Fletcher also took a photo in 1980 from the March side of the viaduct.
“Stopping by on the A141 one morning I was able to photograph 37018 getting into its stride with the 10.37 Whitemoor - Manton Wood coal empties which was booked for a 37 at the time and viewed over what my auntie would have called ‘a lovely field of cabbages’,” he said.