Network Rail should get its station maintenance schedule back on track

The traffic light crossing at Dumbarton Central Station Bridge.

BILL HEANEY, the writer the council want to gag

Is this the dirtiest, darkest, most dangerous bridge in Scotland?  The bridge at Dumbarton Central is a disgrace.

It has a really dangerous set of traffic lights at which pedestrians, including pupils from Dumbarton Academy, are expected to cross.

Even when it’s daylight this crossing is plunged into darkness and drivers are often blinded by the sun at certain times of day.

I know that environmental campaigner Rose Harvie has contacted Network Rail about this.

And, along with MSP Jackie Baillie, been given assurances that action will be taken to rectify matters.

But nothing ever happens.

The bridge crosses over the spot where Church Street meets Townend Road.  It’s not only dangerous because it’s dark.  It’s dangerous because it drips filthy black water and pigeon droppings.

If drivers and pedestrians are not extra careful, it could become a killer crossing.

Network Rail are like Scotrail’s trains.  They are unreliable and forever making excuses about why they can’t do things instead of getting on with it.  It’s a bit like their trains skipping stations and failing to arrive on time.

Their spin doctors keep tell us they are tackling things, but that “there is much more to do”.

There certainly is an awful lot more to do with that bridge in Dumbarton.

The College Park Street area which welcomes people off the trains has been given a long needed facelift.

The Municipal Buildings and College Arch have never looked better, although the restoration of its former floral glory would be no bad thing.

The old Burgh Hall, which houses the new council offices, has been cleaned and is showing a bright new face to the world.

And work at the Sheriff Court, which houses the Justice of the Peace Court and even the High Court on circuit, will look first class when it’s finished.

It’s time however that the people inside the Burgh Hall, our public representatives, told Network Rail where to get off.

The people of Dumbarton and their visitors, thousands of whom came to the town for the Scottish Pipe Band Championships on Saturday, deserve better.

Network Rail should get their finger out and put their station maintenance programme back on track.

The College Arch, Dumbarton Central Station (upstairs) and the newly cleaned Municipal Buildings. Pictures by Bill Heaney and Arthur Jones

Bouquets and brickbats come with the job

West Dunbartonshire Council must be delighted with the success of the Scottish Pipe Band Championships on Saturday.  It was great to see this event so well organised with the emphasis on fun for families. It really was a showcase for what we have to offer here. I hope the Council realise now how big a mistake it would have been to build a secondary school at Posties, which I have always maintained was part of Levengrove Park, which was gifted by the Denny family to the people of Dumbarton. Who is now going to argue that it isn’t? When we are dishing out criticism and praise in The Democrat, we try hard to be even-handed. Most of the criticism at the moment is directed at the SNP administration, which is only natural since they are the party in power (thanks only to that shady piece of political horse trading with Bailie Agnew). And it is the party in power that must take the brickbats along with the bouquets. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. It’s only fair when mentioning the Posties saga and the cack-handed decision to site another concrete and glass monstrosity at Sandpoint,  was made by the then Labour administration, who also decided to build OLSP in Bellsmyre, which wasn’t a great choice either. And, lest we forget, they blew £1 million of public money before abandoning their plan which anyone with a scintilla of  public knowledge would have known was a non starter.

Crosslet House, left, and Townend Hospital in Dumbarton.

Then there’s the old people’s home at Crosslet, which has meant taking all the small community homes away and replacing the residents in one large building. What’s was the point of that? And why replace the community homes with a single large building? We used to have one of those in Townend Road, which sadly became known locally as the Poorhouse.

It was Labour who made the disastrous decision to turn down the street lights and plunged as all into semi-darkness. Before they start preening themselves and go home to prepare for (local) government, Labour should prioritise proving themselves to be an OLSP 1effective Opposition in the new Burgh Hall. That would be a spectacle worth seeing.

There wouldn’t be enough room in the public gallery to get us all in. Again. By the way, the SNP had the brass neck to claim credit for both the new Crosslet House and OLSP in Bellsmyre, pictured left. 


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