1862: England Gets a New Railway Bridge

January 31, 1862

A railway bridge was inaugurated in an area of western England that is now entirely within the county of Worcestershire. This bridge, which went into regular service the day after it was it was officially opened, crosses the River Severn between the village of Upper Arley (part of the county of Staffordshire until being annexed into Worcestershire in 1895) and the town and civil parish of Bewdley. This 200-foot (61-meter)-long structure was named after Queen Victoria, (1819-1901), whose reign as British monarch lasted from 1837 to 1901.

The Victoria Bridge was built for the Severn Valley Railway. (This version of the Severn Valley Railway — likewise making its debut in 1862 — ceased operations in 1970.) Civil engineer John Fowler (1817-1898) designed the Victoria Bridge. Those involved in the construction of this bridge included Thomas Brassey (1805-1870), civil engineering contractor and building materials manufacturer); Samuel Morton Peto (1809-1889), civil engineer and railway developer; and Edward Betts (1815-1872), civil engineering contractor. At the time of its opening, the Victoria Bridge was the longest single-span cast iron bridge in England.

The Victoria Bridge was closed to traffic in 1963. This bridge was reopened 11 years later, however, to serve the new version of the Severn Valley Railway as part of its heritage line for that region.

Along with being a transportation link, the Victoria Bridge has appeared in several movies throughout years. These include the 1978 remake of The Thirty-Nine Steps.

Photo Credit: Duncan Harris (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en)

Additional information on the Victoria Bridge in England’s county of Worcestershire is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Bridge,_Worcestershire

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