Timberley Viaduct, built in 1861-63, takes the Horsham to Ford line over the River Arun north of Amberley. There are several other bridges carrying the railway over the river, but this is the most impressive and interesting. It was built of cast iron and wrought iron and has fifteen spans in total. There are four approach spans south of the river and ten to the north. The main river bridge is a bowstring girder structure, 106 feet long, skewed at 24 degrees. Adjacent approach spans taper in plan, so that all the others, which have 29 feet spans, can be square to the line. The overall length of 528 feet, or five times the river span, allows for the railway crossing a flood plain. An embankment could act as a dam, resulting in serious flooding upstream and considerable scour damage to the railway.
The bridge deck is supported on cast iron columns founded on brick piers. Many cast iron components, though not the columns, were replaced by wrought iron in 1894. However, the outer cast iron beams were retained, so the structure is little changed in appearance from when it was first built.
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This page was created 25 January 2010