Bridges and causeways across the Ouse Washes

The Ouse Washes Website

an independent research and information project


Crossings over the Washes - road, rail  and foot


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Introduction


THIS PAGE IS AN INCOMPLETE WORKING DRAFT
MUCH TEXT & MANY PHOTOS STILL TO BE POSTED

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Denver


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Photo: Eddy Edwards, Jun 2011

Earith

bridge over New Bedford River


Photo: Eddy Edwards, Jun 2011




Photo: Eddy Edwards, Jun 2011

Bridge over sluice at start of Old Bedford River


Photo: Eddy Edwards, Jun 2011

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Google satelite view.
North/south on left: 1985 bypass viaduct
East/west: 1930 bridge in village over New Bedford River and route of 1930 viaduct.



Nice to find a commemerative stone. I've not found one on any other bridge
in the washes (so far).
Photo: Eddy Edwards, Apr 2011

Mepal

Village


The 1930 concrete bridge above seen in 2011 looking south from the west bank of the New Bedford River. The white bulding is a private house. To the right of the large tree in centre can just be seen the chimney of the Three Pickerels Inn above the bridge parapet, and below that the base of the timber bridge previously here.
Photo: Eddy Edwards, Apr 2011

The black and white photos show the timber bridge and two pubs, Three Pickerells on the left (still open!) and Red Lion on the right (closed, but when?).


Photo: Mepal Community Photo Archive

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wooden bridge at Mepal c1902-08 c1902-1908
Looking south from west bank of NBR. Three Pickerells on left, Red Lion on right.

wooden bridge at Mepal c1880 - note, not Sutton Gault c1878-1882..
Looking south from east bank.

wooden bridge at Mepal c1880 - note, not Sutton Gault c1898-1902.
Looking south from east bank.

Photos and information above taken from the Mepal Community Archives. Click photos to go to the source page. Many other Mepal photos at
Mepal Community Archives



Photo: Eddy Edwards, May 2011



Looking south from the Old Bedford.
The abutment at the New Bedford end just visible in the far distance.
Photo: Eddy Edwards, May 2011

A141 By-pass


In 1984/85 a much needed by-pass was built with a continuous viaduct accross both Bedford rivers and the Washes. Seen here in 2011 with Old Bedford River in foreground.
Photo: Eddy Edwards, May 2011

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Photo: Eddy Edwards, May 2011


Looking south from the west side of the viaduct
Photos: Eddy Edwards, May 2011
  

Engine Bank



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Purls Bridge


Source: .
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viaduct over washes
steel through-truss bridge over the
New Bedford River


bridge over the B 1411 Hundred Foot Bank road
design similar to viaduct sections

more photos on railway slideshow

Railway

Background

For more than 160 years trains have trundled across the washes on a series of bridges and viaducts and an embankment.

In 1836 the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) was incorporated and authorised to build a line from London to Norwich, Yarmouth and Ipswich. In 1844 Parliament gave the Company permission to build a line across the Fens from Ely to Peterborough. Despite the soft peat soil, the line was built in just 10 months opening to goods traffic in December 1846 and to passengers in January 1847.
The construction contract was given to Grissell and Peto under the direction of Robert Stephenson.(source: LNER Encyclopedia)
By 1862 the ECR had acquired most of the other railways in East Anglia and adopted the name Great Eastern Railway (GER). In 1923 GER was absorbed into the new London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) which began a massive modernisation of its infracture. The works included rebuilding and/or improving bridges on the line across the Washes during 1924-28.

In 1947 LNER was nationalised and became part of the new British Railways, later re-named British Rail. In 1994 the railways were re-privatised, and infrastructure responsibity  passed to Railtrack. After a series of disasters (elsewhere) and financial difficulties Railtrack was would-up in 2002 and its duties taken over by the Government controlled Network Rail.

The line is double track, non-electricfied. There are bridges across three rivers: Counter Drain, The Delph and The New Bedford; and a road bridge over the Hundred Foot Bank. In the Washes, the line between the Delph and New Bedford has a viaduct at each end and a central embankment.

How much of the original works remain, and what exactly was done in the late 1920s and since, I have not yet established.

Source: Various.
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construction works in 1920s
photos from Pymoor Archives
 

Salter's Lode


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Sutton Fen


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Sutton Gault

New Bedford River


Photo: Eddy Edwards, Apr 2011


Photo: Eddy Edwards, Apr 2011

 
 

Causeway and raised footpath across Washes


Photo: Eddy Edwards, Apr 2011

 



water level gauge reads up to 4.2m

Photo: Eddy Edwards, Apr 2011

Old Bedford River


Photo: Eddy Edwards, Apr 2011

 


Photo: Eddy Edwards, Apr 2011

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Welches Dam


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Welmore Lake



 

Welney

Gardner's 1851 History of Cambridgeshire & Isle of Ely, page 566: bridge over Old Bedford is cast iron, the Delph bridge is timber


 

The earlier cast iron bridge, below,

was recorded in Gardner's 1851 History
of Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely


The foundations of the cast iron bridge are clearly visible under the current bridge (see also right column)

Old Bedford River


Photos of Cast Iron bridge courtesy of The Welney Website
All others: Eddy Edwards, May 2011




or are there two lots of previous foundations, one wider than the other?


Delph River


Photos: Eddy Edwards, May 2011
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A water level gauge reads up to 6m
a metre higher than any others
I've found in the Washes.

The plastic pipe looks like it might contain part of a sophisicated electronic system for measuring water level or flow, with readings sent to the EA control centre via telemetry.
(see also photo in right column).

For more information seeTelemetry

New Bedford (Hundred Foot) River at Suspension Bridge


Aerial photo: courtesy of Dick Fiske, Jun 2005


Looking southwest from east bank
Photo: Eddy Edwards, Jun 2011


Looking north from east bank
Photo: Eddy Edwards, Jun 2011

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The underside was much as expected.
except for one or two things:
birds nest

lager bottle carefully disposed of

some corrosion

box of tricks
part of telemetry system?
click to see the full system.

Photos: Eddy Edwards, Jun 2011

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Acknowledgements.
Text and photos except where noted © Eddy Edwards, 2010-12

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