Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Bath Spa Railway Bridges

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Skew bridge over the River Avon, immediately west of Bath Spa station
Skew bridge over the River Avon
JD Mar 2018 Bath5.jpg
JD Mar 2018 Bath4.jpg
Immediately west of the River Avon bridge is a lengthy viaduct, starting with this somewhat modified Gothic creation by I K Brunel. Unattented saplings may cause further changes.
JD Mar 2018 Bath7.jpg
JD Mar 2018 Bath6.jpg
East bridge over the Avon
East bridge
She was beautiful, once. East bridge
East bridge. Despite indications to the contrary, this still carries a vital main line
JD Mar 2018 Bath2.jpg

The railway through Bath Spa railway station is partly elevated, necessitating a variety of bridges and viaducts.

Immediately west of the station is a heavily-skewed lattice girder bridge (see first photo). The riveted girders replaced I. K. Brunel's attractive 1840s arched bridge, which was of unusual construction, between 1875 and 1878. Illustrations of the original bridge show what appears to be a typical cast iron double span arch bridge. However, contractural problems prevented an iron bridge being procured, so Brunel designed a structure predominantly made of wood, having two 80 ft spans with six arches each, laminated from five layers of 6" Memel (Baltic) timber, treated by Kyanising. The spandrels above the outermost arches were ornamental iron castings with a Gothic theme, but elsewhere timber supports were provided between the arches and the deck. The ends of the ribs sat in cast iron 'shoes', and the whole structure was provided with wrought iron ties, the largest being horizontal tie bars set a short distance above the ends of the arches. These were provided with vertical tie bars to minimise sagging.[1]. The original wooden arches sat on top of the masonry on the central pier. The cast iron columns were introduced in 1875-8 to support the iron girders.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 'Brunel's Timber Bridges and Viaducts' by Brian Lewis, Ian Allan Publishing, 2007, pp.33-5