SEmG

Railway Structures
Wrought-iron and steel plate

Wrought-iron was widely used once the limitations of cast iron became apparent. However, this made bridge construction more complicated and costly. Wrought-iron components have to be rolled and worked into shape. This made it impractical to produce single large pieces. As a result, bridges comprise a large number of components which are riveted together. The joints and rivets add to the overall weight of the structure.

When steel came into use, bridges were designed in the same way. It was only when improved welding techniques were developed during the twentieth century that metal bridges could again be assembled from a few large components.

Plate girder bridges are a particularly common design, comprising wrought-iron or steel plates riveted together to form single girders. These may be sufficiently deep to double as a parapet, but sometimes a railing or non-structural plate extension is required to give adequate parapet height.

Southdown Road bridge, Shoreham-by-Sea Southdown Road bridge, Shoreham-by-Sea, photographed on 6th October 2007.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Southdown Road bridge, Shoreham-by-Sea.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Southdown Road bridge, Shoreham-by-Sea

Southdown Road Bridge, Shoreham-by-Sea, is a typical plate girder structure carrying a double track line. There are three main beams, two either side and one between the tracks. Cross beams support the bridge deck and tracks. This type of structure, where the deck is supported by two plate girders, is known as a half-though bridge.

Fetcham Road bridge, Leatherhead Fetcham Road bridge, Leatherhead, photographed on 26th April 2009.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Fetcham Road bridge, Leatherhead.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Fetcham Road bridge, Leatherhead

Fetcham Road bridge, Leatherhead is a deck-type bridge, where the deck is supported on top of the plate girders. This design is much less common for UK railways than the half-through type. The main beams are directly below the tracks, so a walkway for staff is cantilevered off the top of the outer beams.

Brighton Road bridge, Smitham Brighton Road bridge, Smitham, photographed on 25th August 2007.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Brighton Road bridge, Smitham.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Brighton Road bridge, Smitham

Brighton Road bridge, Smitham, is a half-through type, with the original cross beams having been replaced by welded girders. The deck has also been renewed. The contrast between the plate girder main beams, with many rivets and joining pieces, and the cross beams, which are plain apart from the weld lines, is apparent.

Bridge 821A, Margate Bridge 821A, Margate, photographed on 18th August 2007.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Bridge 821A, Margate.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Bridge 821A, Margate

Bridge 821A, Margate, one of two over Fulsam Place, is a fine example of a steel, plate girder, half-through bridge, largely unchanged since construction. It is wider than the bridges at Shoreham and Smitham, so the girders are more substantial, and there are members spanning between the cross beams. There is a steel plate parapet mounted on top of the main girders.

Collingwood Road bridge, Sutton Collingwood Road bridge, Sutton, photographed on 11th August 2007.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
Collingwood Road bridge, Sutton.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

Collingwood Road bridge, Sutton

Collingwood Road bridge, Sutton, was constructed by the Southern Railway as part of the Wimbledon to Sutton line. The steel beams support a concrete deck.

More Wrought-iron and steel plate

All photographs are copyright

return to the Railway Structures menu

return to picture gallery page

This page was created 8 January 2010

SR Target

Valid CSS!    Valid HTML 4.01!