The Severn Railway Bridge

Channel: michaelayland   |   2009/04/22
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The Severn Railway Bridge
The Severn Railway Bridge
::2009/04/22::
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Severn Railway Bridge - Demolition
Severn Railway Bridge - Demolition
::2008/10/23::
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The Rise & Fall of the Severn Railway Bridge.wmv
The Rise & Fall of the Severn Railway Bridge.wmv
::2011/10/12::
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Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge, Worcester, England 9th September 2009
Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge, Worcester, England 9th September 2009
::2009/09/09::
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London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge 1st April 2009
London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge 1st April 2009
::2009/04/01::
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London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 1st November 2010
London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 1st November 2010
::2010/11/03::
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London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 6th January 2010
London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 6th January 2010
::2010/01/07::
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London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 6th January 2010
London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 6th January 2010
::2010/01/07::
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Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge, Worcester, Worcestershire 17th January 2010
Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge, Worcester, Worcestershire 17th January 2010
::2010/01/22::
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Severn Falls Railway Bridge jump
Severn Falls Railway Bridge jump
::2008/09/23::
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First Great Western Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 6th January 2010
First Great Western Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 6th January 2010
::2010/01/07::
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London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge 3rd May 2010
London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge 3rd May 2010
::2010/05/03::
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London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 6th January 2010
London Midland City Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 6th January 2010
::2010/01/07::
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Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge, Worcestershire, England 3rd May 2010
Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge, Worcestershire, England 3rd May 2010
::2010/05/03::
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First Great Western Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 6th January 2010
First Great Western Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 6th January 2010
::2010/01/07::
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First Great Western Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 13th June 2010
First Great Western Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct 13th June 2010
::2010/07/03::
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Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge, Worcester, Worcestershire, UK 14th March 2010
Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge, Worcester, Worcestershire, UK 14th March 2010
::2010/03/20::
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Train
Train 'London Midland City' River Severn Railway Bridge, Worcester, England 2nd July 2009
::2009/07/03::
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Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct, Worcestershire, UK 13th June 2010
Train Crossing Worcester River Severn Railway Bridge & Viaduct, Worcestershire, UK 13th June 2010
::2010/07/03::
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Leaking Water Valve River Severn Railway Bridge, Worcester, Worcestershire 17th January 2010
Leaking Water Valve River Severn Railway Bridge, Worcester, Worcestershire 17th January 2010
::2010/01/21::
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Barnstaple
Barnstaple's Iron Railway Bridge
::2011/02/06::
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(HD) The Demolition of Vicars Railway Bridge 16/03/13
(HD) The Demolition of Vicars Railway Bridge 16/03/13
::2013/03/16::
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Lost Railways of the Forest of Dean - Severn & Wye
Lost Railways of the Forest of Dean - Severn & Wye
::2010/07/27::
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Severn Valley Railway chuffed at tunnel re-opening
Severn Valley Railway chuffed at tunnel re-opening
::2012/04/24::
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Crewgreen Severn Bridge Former Railway Bridge: Frontier Wales England
Crewgreen Severn Bridge Former Railway Bridge: Frontier Wales England
::2013/09/01::
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Steam to Cinderford
Steam to Cinderford
::2009/04/22::
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The River Severn battering this railway bridge at Over Jn
The River Severn battering this railway bridge at Over Jn
::2014/02/15::
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2  Railway bridge north side
2 Railway bridge north side
::2012/06/14::
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Gwili Railway does a Shunt. - Two Diesel Locos running in this Snapshot.
Gwili Railway does a Shunt. - Two Diesel Locos running in this Snapshot.
::2014/02/12::
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river severn crossing by cycle by eddie lancaster
river severn crossing by cycle by eddie lancaster
::2012/07/19::
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White
White's Falls / Severn Bridge Train Bridge Jump
::2012/09/14::
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Train Crossing Worcester Railway Viaduct, River Severn, Worcestershire, UK 19th December 2010
Train Crossing Worcester Railway Viaduct, River Severn, Worcestershire, UK 19th December 2010
::2010/12/22::
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Severn Valley Railway Bridge North Station heading back to Kidderminster
Severn Valley Railway Bridge North Station heading back to Kidderminster
::2009/11/04::
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SEVERN TUNNEL JOURNEY. From HST vestuble. Quite a shaky experience !! 12.07.2011.mpg
SEVERN TUNNEL JOURNEY. From HST vestuble. Quite a shaky experience !! 12.07.2011.mpg
::2011/07/14::
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Severn Tunnel Junction and Gloucester 1959/1966
Severn Tunnel Junction and Gloucester 1959/1966
::2009/09/04::
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severn valley railway bridge
severn valley railway bridge
::2009/02/22::
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Severn Tunnel Emergency Exercise Feb. 2010
Severn Tunnel Emergency Exercise Feb. 2010
::2012/06/18::
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The demolition of railway bridge 44 at Rushton Northamptonshire
The demolition of railway bridge 44 at Rushton Northamptonshire
::2013/11/15::
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The hulk of the Severn Princess
The hulk of the Severn Princess
::2010/02/26::
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s2 the severn under the railway bridge
s2 the severn under the railway bridge
::2012/04/26::
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Severn Bridge going East
Severn Bridge going East
::2007/02/21::
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From Ferry to Bridge: Aust and the Old Severn Bridge
From Ferry to Bridge: Aust and the Old Severn Bridge
::2008/09/12::
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Sad Good-Bye to Aller Railway Bridge on Christmas day 2013
Sad Good-Bye to Aller Railway Bridge on Christmas day 2013
::2013/12/25::
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Newton Cap Viaduct
Newton Cap Viaduct
::2011/03/22::
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VDOT: Bridge demolition set to opera
VDOT: Bridge demolition set to opera
::2009/03/04::
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Arley on the Severn Valley Railway
Arley on the Severn Valley Railway
::2013/10/05::
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Worcester Railway Viaduct First Great Western Train 12th September 2009
Worcester Railway Viaduct First Great Western Train 12th September 2009
::2009/09/12::
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Time-Lapse Example: Loughor Viaduct Replacement
Time-Lapse Example: Loughor Viaduct Replacement
::2013/04/23::
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Demolition of the last sugar plant railway in Poland.
Demolition of the last sugar plant railway in Poland.
::2009/02/23::
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Cotswold Canals - Capel Mill canal cruising new section of Thames & Severn canal
Cotswold Canals - Capel Mill canal cruising new section of Thames & Severn canal
::2013/07/06::
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Severn Railway Bridge
'The White Elephant'[1]
Severn Railway Bridge, from near Purton - geograph.org.uk - 2041712.jpg
Severn Railway Bridge in July 1948
Crosses River Severn
Locale Lydney - Sharpness
Designer George Baker Keeling
Total length 4,162 feet (1,269 m)
Vertical clearance 70 feet (21 m)
Construction begin 1875
Construction end 1879
Preceded by Severn Tunnel
Collapsed 25 October 1960
A 1946 Ordnance Survey map showing the bridge and branch line.

The Severn Railway Bridge was a crossing across the River Severn between Sharpness and Lydney, Gloucestershire. It was badly damaged by river barges in 1960 and demolished in 1970.

Construction[edit]

It was built by the Severn Bridge Railway company in the 1870s to transport coal from the Forest of Dean on the Severn and Wye Railway. Work began in 1875 and was completed in 1879. The wrought iron bridge, which was 4,162 feet (1,269 m) long and 70 feet (21 m) above high water, had 22 spans and had stone abutments made from local limestone. The span across the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal operated as a swing bridge.[2]

History[edit]

The bridge was single track, and it took approximately 30 miles (48 km) off the journey from Bristol via Gloucester to Cardiff during Severn Tunnel maintenance occupations. The bridge predated the construction of the Severn Tunnel, a dozen miles or so downstream, by seven years. It was known by locals as 'The White Elephant'.[1]

Until the Severn Road Bridge was opened in 1966, the Severn Railway Bridge was often referred to as the Severn Bridge. There was a small station known as Severn Bridge on the Lydney side, adjacent to the main line from Gloucester to Chepstow, which the railway from the bridge crossed.[3]

The bridge was used as a diversionary route for the Severn Tunnel when that was closed for engineering work. The south-to-north chord at Berkeley Loop South Junction used for this route was closed when the bridge was abandoned. The remaining line from Berkeley Rd Junction to Sharpness docks remains and on the north side of the Severn estuary, the line from the former Otters Pool Junction at Lydney to the Severn Bridge has long been lifted but a short headshunt on the trackbed exists as part of the Dean Forest Railway network.

In 1943 a flight of three Spitfires was being delivered by ATA pilots, including one woman, Ann Wood, from their Castle Bromwich factory to Whitchurch, Bristol. As it was low tide, the lead pilot Johnnie Jordan flew under the bridge. Some time later, Ann Wood repeated this underflying - without realising that this time it was high tide and there was 30 ft (9 m) less headroom.[4] This was not the only instance of pilots buzzing the bridge; it was seemingly so common at one time that a local policeman was tasked with recording serial numbers.

Accident[edit]

After the accident, April 1966
Wreckage of the barges, Arkendale H (bows, left) and Wastdale H (stern right), still visible at low water.

On 25 October 1960, there was thick fog and a strong tide; two barges carrying fuel oil and petroleum (the Arkendale H and the Wastdale H) overshot Sharpness Dock, were carried upstream and collided with one of the columns of the bridge. Two spans of the 22-span steel and cast iron bridge collapsed. Part of the structure hit the barges, setting fire to them. Five people died in the incident. In February 1961 a further span collapsed.

The Western Region of British Railways planned to reconstruct the bridge but after further damage to the bridge in 1961, it considered the bridge to be damaged beyond economic repair.[1] Following the accident, schoolchildren who had used the bridge daily had to be taken to school on a 40-mile (64 km) detour via Gloucester.

Demolition[edit]

Remaining tower of the swing section over the canal

Demolition began in 1967 and took until 1970,by Nordman Construction[1][5] although evidence of several of the piers remains. Most notable is between the canal and river, a large circular pier that formed the base of the swinging section. Some piers are mere foundations, only visible at low tide, as are the wrecks of the petrol barges.

The river at this point has always had hazardous tidal currents, the cause of the 1960 collision. During the demolition, a support vessel, the Severn King which was one of the old Aust Ferry boats replaced when the Severn Road Bridge had opened, broke its mooring in the tide, struck the remains of the bridge, and sank.[1]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  • Awdry, Christopher, (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. London: Guild Publishing.
  • Disasters on the Severn, Chris Witts
  1. ^ a b c d e Ron Huxley, The rise and fall of the Severn Bridge Railway, 1984, ISBN 978-1-84868-033-3
  2. ^ Paget-Tomlinson, Edward (2006). The Illustrated History of Canal & River Navigations 3rd edition. Landmark Publishing Ltd. pp. 124–125. ISBN 1-84306-207-0. 
  3. ^ Victoria County History of Gloucestershire: Lydney
  4. ^ Giles Whittell (2007). Spitfire Women of World War II. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0007235364. 
  5. ^ Biddle, Gordon (2003). Britain's Historic Railway Buildings. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 299, "Purton". ISBN 0-19-866247-5. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°43′58″N 2°28′26″W / 51.73267°N 2.47400°W / 51.73267; -2.47400

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