Blackfriars Railway Bridge

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Coordinates: 51°30′35″N 0°06′12″W / 51.50972°N 0.10333°W / 51.50972; -0.10333

Blackfriars Railway Bridge
St Pauls Cathedral From BlackFriars.jpg
Blackfriars Railway Bridge, with the remains of the old bridge in the foreground
Carries Thameslink Railway
Crosses River Thames
Locale London, England
Design Arch Bridge
Opened 1886

Blackfriars Railway Bridge is a railway bridge crossing the River Thames in London, between Blackfriars Bridge and the Millennium Bridge.

There have been two structures with the name. The first bridge was opened in 1864 and was designed by Joseph Cubitt for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. Massive abutments at each end carried the railway's insignia, preserved and restored on the south side. Following the formation of the Southern Railway in 1924, inter-city and continental services were concentrated on Waterloo, and St Paul's Station became a local and suburban stop. For this reason, the use of the original bridge gradually declined. It eventually became too weak to support modern trains, and was therefore removed in 1985 – all that remains is a series of columns crossing the Thames[1] and the southern abutment, which is a Grade II listed structure.[2]

The second bridge, built slightly further downstream (to the east), was originally called St Paul's Railway Bridge and opened in 1886. It was designed by John Wolfe-Barry and Henry Marc Brunel and is made of wrought iron. It was built by Lucas & Aird.[3] When St Paul's railway station changed its name to Blackfriars in 1937 the bridge changed its name as well.

At the southern end of the bridge was Blackfriars Bridge railway station which opened in 1864 before closing to passengers in 1885 following the opening of what is today the main Blackfriars station. Blackfriars Bridge railway station continued as a goods stop until 1964 when it was completely demolished, and much of it redeveloped into offices.

As part of the Thameslink Programme, the platforms at Blackfriars station have been extended across the Thames and partially supported by the 1864 bridge piers. The project is designed by Jacobs and Tony Gee & Partners and built by Balfour Beatty. The work also includes the installation of a roof covered with photovoltiac solar panels. It is the largest of only two solar bridges in the world (the other being Kurilpa Bridge in Australia). Other green improvements include sun pipes and systems to collect rain water.[4]

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