Shepparton railway station footbridge plans bring back memories

By John Lewis

What goes around comes around.

Or perhaps, what goes up must come down — and then go up again.

The photograph (above) from the 1970s shows a footbridge being pulled down at the northern end of the Shepparton Railway Station platform.

Nearly 50 years later, Greater Shepparton City Council has released a plan to build a new footbridge at the station for an eyebrow-raising cost of $20million.

Long-time Shepparton resident and railway enthusiast Bill Ludlow was given the image by photographer friend Alf Grigg.

Mr Ludlow estimated the photo was taken in the 1970s. He remembered the footbridge as being a solid construction before it was demolished.

‘‘It was dropped on to the railway tracks and then cut up,’’ he said.

He remembered walking over the bridge in the 1950s.

‘‘When I was a kid, we lived on the east side of the station and we walked over the bridge to get to The Terminus’ side.

‘‘We used to drop paddy melons on the trains passing underneath.’’

He said the railway stations at Shepparton and Echuca were built on the opposite side of the tracks to the town centres.

‘‘As far as I know, the Echuca footbridge still remains, but neither were wheelchair-friendly,’’ Mr Ludlow said.

In December last year, city councillors voted to exhibit Shepparton Railway Station’s Pedestrian Overpass and Shared Pathway Linkages concept plans for six weeks of public comment from January 7.

The new overpass has an estimated cost of $18.8million, which the council says is expected to be met by the Victorian Government.

The construction cost for the shared pathways is estimated at $4.75million, which the council is expected to meet in part or full.

A council report describes the new footbridge design as a ‘‘bright, distinctive design that suggests the movement of fruit along a conveyor belt.’’