Network Rail Overview – Bromham Road Bridge

Britain’s railway is a remarkable success story. It is the fastest growing, the safest and one of the most reliable railways in Europe. Passenger numbers have doubled over the last 20 years, with both passenger and freight journeys forecast to keep growing.

To meet rising demand, the Midland Main Line, which runs between London St Pancras, and Sheffield, is undergoing the largest upgrade since it was completed in 1870. The upgrade will enable over 1000 additional seats an hour in the peak into London from 2020, an increase of more than 50%.

Upgrades to deliver these benefits include track realignment, station remodelling, platform construction and lengthening, capacity works, bridge reconstructions, signalling works and electrification of the line from Bedford to Kettering and Corby to power modern electric and bi-mode trains.

The Midland Main Line Upgrade is a part of our long term plan to work together to change, improve and secure prosperity for Britain. By delivering this upgrade and other improvements, the partnership railway will secure almost £85bn* of additional economic benefits for the country. (*Source: Rail Delivery Group)

What are the benefits?

Although more trains are running than ever before, growth in passenger numbers is outstripping supply. Our network, our stations and our platforms are having to deal with more passengers than they were ever designed for. An investment of over £1bn is being made in the Midland Main Line that enable better, more comfortable and efficent journeys from 2020, with more seats and less crowding. This investment will support the growth of the regional economies, connecting people to more job, education and leisure opportunities.

Midland Main Line improvements will mean electrification of the line from Bedford to Kettering & Corby by 2020. Electrifying the railway enables modern, fast trains with increased seating to operate on our network. Bi-mode trains in electric mode are: quieter than diesel trains – benefitting passengers and people living close to the railway and better for the environment – saving fuel and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Consent for the work

Network Rail will continue to seek to engage with relevant landowners to secure the land and air requirements for the proposed scheme by consent. However, as it has not been possible to secure all of these by negotiation at this stage, Network Rail intends to submit an application for an order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 (TWAO) for the purposes of reconstructing Bromham Road Bridge and also to confer powers and deemed planning permission for the work.

Detailed plans

During the reconstruction works, the section of Bromham Road over the bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic and a diversion will operate. Pedestrian access will be maintained via temporary footbridge throughout the work.  Permanent land acquisition is required to help meet modern safety standards – including the construction of vehicle incursion barriers.

Temporary land access is required to accommodate the temporary pedestrian bridge and store materials/equipment to reduce construction vehicle traffic. Air rights are also required for the intermittent use of a crane in handling heavy materials.


The existing brick arch structure will be demolished to approximately half way down the bridge piers. The new bridge will consist of pre cast reinforced concrete beams that form the deck and parapets. The new bridge deck will sit on pre cast reinforced concrete units that are mounted on the existing brick piers.

The works will take approximately 6 months during which the section of Bromham Road over the bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic and an accompanying diversion will operate. Pedestrian access will be maintained via temporary footbridge which will be constructed and remain in place until completion of the work.


The Railway is a sustainable form of transport. We work hard to reduce our impact on the environment and put rail at the heart of a low carbon economy. A Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) will be developed and will identify appropriate management practices for all key environmental aspects including:

-Traffic management
-Noise management
-Air quality: dust management, materials handling, soil storage plan – including agricultural soils management
-Ecology: invasive species management and protected species and habitat management

How to have your say

We now want your opinion on our proposal to inform our plans. You can engage in the consultation process:

1)    By attending the consultation event to share your views with our representatives.
2)    By completing the online feedback form at the bottom of this page
3)    By emailing your views to:

You can also direct any questions about Network Rail and its work to Network Rail’s 24 hour National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41.

Give Us Your Views

Online Survey


  • Consultation event

From 20 Apr 2018 at 12:00 to 20 Apr 2018 at 18:00

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Biddenham History Society – Women’s Suffrage Movement

It is a hundred years since some women were given the right to vote, so we decided to mark this event by inviting Bob Ricketts, who many may know from the Bedford Architectural, Archaeological and Local History Society and the Historical Association to come to talk about the women’s suffrage movement in Bedfordshire. Bob started by testing our knowledge about women’s suffrage both nationally and locally and then detailed the progress women had made in terms of economic status and representation by the early twentieth century but not in terms of being able to vote in parliamentary elections. Women were well represented in teaching, though they had to resign on marriage and in the post office, a considerable employer, and they could help administer the Poor Law and be active in local  government. It was the right to elect MPs and sit in Parliament that was lacking.

Bob showed that the suffrage movement had its roots in the North of England during the nineteenth century. However, it was well established in Bedford by the early twentieth century, and the women who supported the suffrage came from teaching such as Amy Walmsley and Margaret Stansfeld, and medicine such as Dora Mason.
The meetings that they held were not uneventful. Bob described one meeting at which Dora Mason was the speaker, where unruly youths from the town caused trouble. Dora had to retreat into Bank Buildings (near the Swan Hotel) and then make her escape from the roof wearing the long skirted fashion of the time! In the period 1909 – 1913, Bedford was not an easy town in which to hold meetings. The women frequently faced insults and garbage being thrown at them by local youths.

Bob’s researches have shown that the suffrage movement in Bedford was largely based on the suffragists, the followers of Millicent Fawcett, who believed in making their point by non-violent means. The Duchess of Bedford lent them her support. There were not many suffragettes, the members of Emmeline Pankhurst’s WSPU (The
Women’s Social and Political Union) who advocated more violent tactics. However, Christabel, Emmeline’s daughter, did come and speak in Bedford.

Bob did not have any information about the suffrage movement and Biddenham. He did say that the suffragists often became early members of the Women’s Institute. Biddenham had a Women’s  Institute in 1922, which was early in the movement’s history, so it would be worth doing some research into these early members of the WI to see if they had a link with the suffrage movement.

Bob’s talk was very stimulating and has opened up other areas for research. It should also inspire us to visit the Women in Bedfordshire Exhibition which is at the Higgins until September.

The next meeting of the Biddenham History Society will be on Monday, July 2nd . We will meet at the Church Barn at 2.30pm and then have a walk to the War Memorial to reflect on Biddenham one hundred years ago, in 1918. We will then return to the Barn for refreshments. I hope you will be able to join us.

Kathy Fricker

Crime Statistics for Biddenham – March 2018

For the month of February 2018, please find below an Excel file containing crime stats from Bedfordshire Police.  As usual they have been sanitised so that people or houses cannot be identified. Due to administration issues the data set relates to the period 28th February to 27 March 2018.

The database does not record ASB’s (Anti – Social Behaviour)

Crime related to Biddenham and Great Denham is highlighted in yellow:-Crime stats Sanitised March 2018

New Deadline on Planning Application 18/000140/MAO – Land West of Gold Lane

The planning application deadline, reference 18/000140/MAO, which relates to the proposed 250 houses to be built West of Gold Lane has been extended to  2nd April 2018.  The Borough Council have inserted more documentation  for review (V23 26 27 28 29). If you have already objected no further action is required as this will still count. If however you feel you need to make an amended objection based on the new information, please feel free to do so. In total the Borough Council have received in the region of  584 objections. We still need a lot more.

The simplest way to object via the internet at or a letter drop  via the door step receivers at the following link Door Step Challenge 10

Please refer the links to friends or neighbours that haven’t taken action. Biddenham still has a sizeable population of people who haven’t objected. All objections count as they add to the weight for the opposing view.

The deadline for Policy 19 and 23 is on the 29th March 2018 by 5pm, but don’t delay as time is marching on.

The Parish Council are grateful for the objections received so far. Do not hesitate in contacting us if you require help in completing an objection. The Parish Council can be contacted at


Bedford Shopmobility and the Mobility Hub

Bedford Shopmobility is a registered charity that hires out mobility scooters and wheelchairs for visitors to Bedford town centre.  Anybody who has limited mobility can use the Shopmobility service.  This could be through physical impairment, ilness, accident or age and could be permanent or temporary. Wheelchairs and powered scooters can be booked in advance by calling in to the Shopmobility office or by telephone on 01234 348000.  Some equipment may be available at short notice.

Equipment can currently be borrowed between 10:30am and 2:30pm,  Monday to Friday. Regular users can join the scheme and benefit from a reduced hire rate.  Visitors hire is also available for occasional or one off users.

Annual membership costs £24 for a full year and expires on 31st December each year.   (Membership is pro-rata so for example members joining in April pay £18).  Members pay £2 to hire a scooter or £1 for a wheelchair.

For visitors, there is  a charge of £5 for a scooter and £2 for a wheelchair. All hirers pay a deposit of £10 for scooter and £5 for a wheelchair.  The deposit is returned once the loaned item is received back.

More information on the scheme can be obtained by either phoning Shopmobility on 01234 348000 or by calling in to the Mobility Hub. Click here to view a flyer about the service.

Jonathan Farr
Bedford Shopmobility


The first green waste collections of 2018

The first garden waste collections of 2018 will take place in Biddenham on Wednesday 14th March 2018. As there has been no collection during the last 3 months the green waste may have hardened during this period. There is no excuse for the collection not to take place on this basis as the operators should make the effort to release all waste. If you experience issues please contact the Borough Council direct.

For all details regarding the collection service, please click Bin collections then enter your post code details.