John Speller's Web Pages Britannia Tubular Bridge

John Speller's Web Pages - L&NWR
Britannia Tubular Bridge LNWR Untitled
Robert Stephenson's masterpiece, the Britannia Tubular Bridge on the Chester & Holyhead Railway, was the second great bridge over the Menai Straits between the mainland and the Isle of Anglesey. The first, of course, was Thomas Telford's Menai Straits Suspension Bridge, built between 1819 and 1826. Construction of Stephenson's railway bridge began in 1846 and the bridge was opened for traffic on 5 March 1850. The bridge made use of two giant box girders through which the trains ran -- one for the up line and one for the down line. Tragedy struck on 23 May 1970 when children playing with matches inside one of the tubes accidentally set fire to the structure, seriously compromising the integrity of the tubes, which had to be demolished. A new single-line steel arch bridge was constructed using the original stone piers, and was opened to traffic on 30 January 1972.
Robert Stephenson, DCL., FRS (1803-1859), shown holding some plans with the Menai Bridge in the background
Postcard view of the Britannia Tubular Bridge as it existed 1850-1970
A postcard view of the Britannia Tubular Bridge in around 1920, with a Holyhead express behind an L&NWR "Precursor" Class 4-4-0 locomotive. Note the decorative stone lions
The Britannia Bridge as rebuilt in 1970-72. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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