Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thames River Bridges: Richmond Railway Bridge

The River Thames flows northward in a series of curves between Richmond and Kew.  About a mile downstream from the Richmond Bridge are three handsome arch bridges. Unfortunately, I don't have a very good photo of them.
The Richmond Railway Bridge was originally designed by Joseph Locke in 1848 as three 100 ft (33 m) long arch spans built of six cast-iron ribs. Concerns about its structural integrity prompted the London and Windsor, Staines, and South-Western Railway (L&SWR) to ask the Horsley Bridge Company to replace the structure in 1906. Mr. Jacomb-Hood, the chief engineer of the L&SWR used the old piers and abutments but designed new steel arches and a new deck.  This bridge was completed in 1908. The girders and deck were replaced in 1984 and it was declared a protected structure in 2008.

Just downstream from the railway bridge is the 1933 Twickenham Bridge, composed of three reinforced concrete arches clad in stone.  As previously mentioned, this bridge was built to reduce traffic demand on the Richmond Bridge. It has been reported that the piers are supported on compressed cork. This bridge was also declared a protected structure in 2008.

By clicking on the photo, you should be able to see these two structures in the distance.

A third structure, an arch footbridge a little further downstream, was built in 1894 to dam the Thames River during low tide.  Under the footbridge are steel dams that can be drawn up to allow river traffic during high tides. During low tide the dams are lowered to hold back the water that otherwise would turn this section of the Thames into a narrow stream.
Creative Commons License
Thames River Bridges: Richmond Railway Bridge by Mark Yashinsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

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