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Railhub Archive
1997-05-30 RTK-001
Railtrack plc


Historic railway bridge receives refurbishment

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Railtrack plc

Historic railway bridge receives refurbishment

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30 May 1997
source Railtrack plc
type Press release

One of the major rail arteries into London has been overhauled and restored at a cost of £630,000 in a joint initiative between Railtrack, the Conservation Area Partnership involving the London Borough of Southwark and English Heritage and the Railway Heritage Trust.

The refurbishment of the historic Tower Bridge Road Railway Bridge received the seal of approval when representatives from the various bodies who contributed to the cost of the work took a tour of the finished structure.

The bridge supports eleven tracks carrying the South Eastern and South Central Lines over the Tower Bridge Road into London Bridge Station, one of the main rail lines into the City carrying over 1600 trains a day.

Commenting on the completion of the refurbishment work, Chris Jago, Director Railtrack Southern said: "The importance of this bridge goes beyond its day to day role of carrying commuters in and out of London. It stands as a testament to the historical importance of the railway in developing London and it is only fitting that its refurbishment should once again highlight its stunning original features."

The bridge was part of London's first passenger railway opened in 1836 between London Bridge and Deptford. Just under four miles long, the railway ran along a brick viaduct for its entire length.

The construction of Tower Bridge in 1886-1894 to the north of the viaduct and the sixty foot wide southern approach road soon afterwards required the demolition of part of the original viaduct and its replacement with a new railway bridge, the Tower Bridge Road Railway Bridge.

The bridge comprises arched wrought iron girders supporting eleven tracks over the four lane Tower Bridge Road. The recent refurbishment work saw the renewal of the ornate cast iron parapets, replacement and repair of the abutment brickwork, painting of the steelwork, cleaning of the glazed stonework and the renewal of the bridge drainage.

The refurbishment of the cast iron parapets was particularly complex after bomb damage caused in the second World War became apparent once work was under way. This difficulty was overcome with a specialised process called metalock, which involves the stitching of damaged cast iron with other fragments of cast iron - a process often used on the restoration of monuments.

Speaking on behalf of Southwark Council, who contributed nearly 50 per cent of the cost of the scheme, Councillor Nick Dolezal, Chair of the Regeneration and Environment Committee, said; "I am delighted that work on the bridge has been completed. The bridge is a key local landmark and forms a gateway into the borough of Southwark, and the Bermondsey Street Conservation Area in particular."

Geoff Noble, Head of Kensington and South London for English Heritage, said; "We are delighted that this impressive bridge has been so sensitively repaired. Our grant of nearly £80,000 towards its repair represents one of our largest ever Conservation Area Partnership grants and is strong proof of how much we value the historic and architectural importance of such a dramatic engineering structure."

To mark the completion of the refurbishment work there was a tour by representatives from the refurbishment partners of the bridge as well as a viewing of a selection of photographs charting the progress of the work.

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-05-30 RTK-001


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