SEmG

Railway Structures
Bridge Numbering

Most railways numbered their bridges and other structures. In most cases a number plate was attached to each bridge. A few railways, including the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway referred to their bridges by means of mileage. LBSCR bridges were later numbered, but the mileage system is still used on former Great Western lines.
Bridge 2088, Lyminge The South Eastern & Chatham Railway displayed numbers on bridges by means of a metal plate, with the figures cut out. This plate is on Bridge 2088 at Lyminge on the Elham Valley line. Obviously, that modest railway did not have over 2,000 structures. The SECR did not start bridge numbering at 1 on every line. Many branches were covered by a single number series. SECR bridge number plates particularly survive attached to station footbridges. Photographed on 7th November 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 61, Vauxhall London & South Western Railway bridge numbers were displayed on a rectangular cast iron plate. This example is at Vauxhall. Photographed on 20th May 2011.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 35, Sandown The Southern Railway adopted concrete bridge number plates, of which there were two basic types. Some were a simple rectangular plaque attached directly to the structure. Number 35 marks the subway at Sandown station and is mounted on the platform face. Photographed on 6th November 2010.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 301, Shepherds Well There was also a free-standing type, with the plaque and post being a single casting. Number 301 is at Shepherds Well. The numbers are similar to those used on the LSWR metal plates. Photographed on 3rd April 2011.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 510, Woldingham British Railways adopted oval bridge plates. Originally they were steel castings, but reflective plastic is now used. This example is at Woldingham and shows the Engineer's Line Reference and mileage as well as the number. (SCU1 indicates South Croydon to Uckfield). Photographed on 30th January 2010.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 723, Beddingham This metal plate is painted red, which indicates that the bridge is not maintained by the railway. In this case it is the new road bridge at Beddingham, between Lewes and Glynde. The double letter suffix indicates that the bridge has been inserted between structures 723D and 723E. Photographed on 2nd August 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 3A, Coulsdon Town (formerly Smitham) A yellow plate indicates a bridge that is maintained by the railway at the expense of a third party. This usually applies to bridges carrying the railway over new roads. Network Rail (and British Railways before it) does not allow highway authorities to maintain structures supporting the railway, but requires to be paid to look after any new ones. TAT 3A is the new bridge carrying the Tattenham Corner branch over the A23 at Coulsdon Town (formerly Smitham) station. Photographed on 20th August 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 12, Clapham Junction This cast metal bridge plate was provided by Wandsworth Council on the overbridge just south of Clapham Junction. The railway could never afford to provide anything this ornate on all of its bridges. Photographed on 10th May 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 29, Virginia Water Paint is a much more economic, but less durable, method of numbering. Bridge VWC 20 carried the former Virginia Water west curve over Trumps Green Road. Photographed on 10th May 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 364, Yeovil Junction When the Western Region took over Southern lines in the West of England, it identified them by mileage, as was its standard method. This is shown by painted characters on this underbridge at Yeovil Junction. BAE indicates Basingstoke to Exeter and the bridge is at 122 miles 57 chains, though an anomaly at Salisbury means that this is not exactly the distance from Waterloo. As can be seen from the Railtrack bridge bash sign, the bridge number has been reinstated. This probably happened after the line came under the control of Network SouthEast. Photographed on 8th August 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 62C, East Croydon Network Rail's plastic bridge plates appear in a few unusual places. Bridge 62C is the structure supporting East Croydon station, and this plate has been glued to one of the windows. Photographed on 10th August 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 13/22. Leatherhead These two bridge plates are displayed on one of the bridges over the River Mole at Leatherhead. The lower one is correct, because the bridge is on line LEJ, Leatherhead to Effingham Junction. The other is wrong, because line BTH3 is the Epsom to Horsham section of South Bermondsey to Horsham. The River Mole bridge on that line is number 61. Photographed on 26th April 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

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