Goring Gap 'ugly' rail gantries go to consultation

Image source, Save the Goring Gap
Image caption,
Campaigners describe the gantries near Goring Gap as "huge metal goalposts"

New metal gantries criticised by residents as "ruining" an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are to be scrutinised by Network Rail.

Installed near Goring Gap in the Chilterns, they are the latest step in the electrification of the Great Western Railway.

Resident Emreys Barrell described them as like "something out of War of the Worlds striding across the landscape".

Network Rail said a consultation would happen "as early as possible".

The rail operator is undertaking a 10-year modernisation programme on the line at a cost of up to £1.74bn.

This includes upgrades to stations and electrification of parts of the route, including the section between Reading and Didcot, Oxfordshire.

'They stare at you'

In the Autumn it ran a series of drop-in events with information about the current look of the overhead line equipment, other designs considered and options for possible "mitigation measures".

Mr Barrell said they looked "dreadful", "huge", and "obtrusive".

"They stare at you in the face. A very simple camouflage would be just to paint them green. Dark green would at least make them look like they somehow blend into the background rather than standing out and staring at you.

"They are shining bright silver. They are galvanised steel, completely inappropriate for the background of the Goring Gap."

Annette Alport said the "horrendous" gantries "totally altered the landscape"

"The beautiful Goring Gap, now when you drive in, looks like the entrance to Paddington Station," she added.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "This consultation will be based on the feedback we received at our first drop-in event and on possible alternative designs, which are currently being commissioned, for the overhead line equipment.

"We are working with both the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs Conservation Boards and will seek their feedback on any proposed alternative designs."

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