Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The King George V Bridge over the Trent at Keadby

I remember Scunthorpe. Coming from Doncaster by train, you crossed endless flat Lincolnshire fields until you rattled over the wide Trent at Keadby. Then. all of a sudden, you were in a large industrial town of steelworks and railway sidings.

Scunthorpe probably isn't what it was in those distant days, but the bridge still carries both road and rail traffic. And as this silent British Pathé video from 1933 shows, it used to be even more remarkable.

The National Transport Trust tells its story:

The King George V bridge was opened by King George V, the chairman of the Great Central Railway company and Lindsey County Council on 21 May 1916.

This Scherzer rolling lift bridge carrying both road and rail traffic across the River Trent was built between 1912 and 1916 by the Great Central Railway to replace a previous swing bridge built by the South Yorkshire Railway in 1861-64. It carries a double track rail line on the southern side, and the twin carriageway A18 road on the north side.

Its 163ft electricity powered bascule (lifting span) was one of the first of its type in Britain and when built, was the largest in Europe. Designed by James Ball and C A Rowlandson and built by contractors Sir William Arrol & Co. it has three main spans and two approach spans. The western main span was the one that lifted. The Scherzer bascule rolled and rotated on counterbalance. It was electrically powered, originally by a large storage battery fed by petrol-driven generators housed in the engine room beneath the east approach span. This was later modified to mains electricity.

The bridge has not been lifted since 1956. It was widened and the headroom increased in 1960 and the bascule was fixed in position.

No comments: