|The London & South Western Railway served areas in the West
of England where there was extensive, good-quality stone. The railway between
Salisbury and Exeter provides an excellent example of how the contractors used
local materials. The line runs through areas of chalk, clay, limestone and
sandstone. Where suitable stone was available it was used. Elsewhere
structures are of brick.
The bridge at Crewkerne station is square on to the railway and has a particularly attractive elliptical arch. This is in rock-faced limestone with prominent voussoirs, but the arch soffit is red brick. The red brick piers originally supported a footbridge, the accesses to which from Station Road have been blocked in concrete. The bridge at Axminster has a considerable skew and also has a red brick soffit. Work was under way to reinstate the second track when the photograph was taken.
New North Road bridge is at the east end of Exeter Central. Three of its four stone piers have been strengthened with red brick. Old Tiverton Road bridge is built of local red sandstone, but has suffered significant repairs and alteration in red brick, including raising the height of the parapet.
A flint-like stone was used for bridges on the Lyme Regis branch, except Cannington Viaduct, but with concrete arch rings, as demonstrated by this accommodation bridge at Combpyne.
Almost all of the buildings and structures on the Swanage branch are of Purbeck stone.
Corfe Viaduct, west of Corfe Castle has four round-headed arches and buttressed piers.
Bridge 23, Haycrafts Lane, Harmans Cross. The gabions to the right support the cutting slope where it has been cut back to accommodate a passing loop.
Bridge 31, Swanage. The span and height of the bridge are such that one might have expected a wrought-iron plate deck to have been provided. Instead, the availability of good-quality local stone and, no doubt, skilled stonemasons, has resulted in construction of a low and flat segmental arch.
A few stone structures are found near Dorchester South
Bridge 118, Alington Road, Dorchester has stone abutments. The deck was originally supported by cast-iron beams, and the outer beams remain, together with the ornamental cast-iron railing. Unfortunately, the bridge has been altered in a most unsympathetic manner, using blue engineering brick and corrugated steel sheeting.
Lady Wimborne Bridge, between Broadstone and Wimborne Minster, is an extraordinarily ornate structure, built to carry the Southampton & Dorchester Railway over the drive to Canford House. Sir John Guest would only allow the railway to cross his drive if the bridge was constructed to the design of his architect, Sir Charles Barry. The bridge is built of limestone from a quarry near Yeovil, but the arch is lined in local brick and there are brick flank walls.
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This page was created 4 January 2010