Caledonian Railway Bridge

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Caledonian Railway Bridge
King George V Bridge - - 628011.jpg
The Caledonian Railway Bridge on the left and the George V Bridge on the right
Crosses River Clyde
Material Steel
Total length 702 feet 6 inches (214.12 m)
Opened 1905 (second bridge)

The Caledonian Railway Bridge is a bridge crossing the River Clyde at Broomielaw in Scotland. It is adjacent to Glasgow Central station.

First bridge[edit]

The first bridge

The first bridge was built between 1876-1878 for the Caledonian Railway Company, and opened on 1 August 1879[1] It was engineered by Blyth and Cunningham and built by Sir William Arrol & Co.[1] It consisted of wrought iron lattice girders linked at the top by a light arched lattice girder, and carried on a cast iron arch (visible in the photograph) over twin piers in the river.[1] The piers are formed of cast iron cylinders sunk to bedrock and filled with concrete, and then extended above the river with Dalbeattie granite.[1]

The approach span over Clyde Place to the south was 60 feet (18 m) long, and over Broomielaw to the north of the river was 90 feet (27 m) long.[1] The navigation spans were 164 feet (50 m), 184 feet (56 m) and 152 feet (46 m) long.[1] The bridge carried four tracks into the new Glasgow Central station.[2]

In 1966-1967, the girders and tracks were removed, leaving the pillars in the water, after resignalling meant it was no longer needed.[3]

Second bridge[edit]

The piers of the first Caledonian railway bridge, with the second bridge next to it

The current, second bridge was built in 1899-1905 during the expansion of Central Station, to a design by D. A. Matheson, chief engineer of the Caledonian Railway, [3] Arrol and Co. was the contractor for this bridge as well.[3]

The foundations for the bridge are rectangular sunk caissons, sunk by the compressed air chamber method used on the Forth Bridge to a depth of up to 48 feet (15 m) below the river bed.[3] The central span is 194 feet (59 m) long with Linville truss girders 15 feet 9 inches (4.80 m) deep.[3] The parapet girders are around 10 feet (3.0 m) deep, and suspended on curved brackets.[3] There are a minimum of eight parallel main girders in the width.[3] The spans are of lengths 160 feet (49 m), 200 feet (61 m) and 178 feet (54 m), and the structure contains 11,000 tonnes (11,000 long tons; 12,000 short tons) of steel.[3] The total length of the bridge between the abutments is 702 feet 6 inches (214.12 m).[4]

The bridge varies in width from 35 to 62.5 metres (115 to 205 ft), and carries up to ten tracks.[3] It leads immediately into Glasgow Central Station on the north bank of the river.[5] At the time of its opening, it was believed to be the widest railway bridge in existence.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Glasgow, Central Station, Old Approach Viaduct". Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "1st Caledonian Railway Bridge". Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Glasgow, Central Station, New Approach Viaduct". Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Matheson, D. A. (1910). "The New Clyde Bridge of the Caledonian Railway at Glasgow. (Including Appendix and Plates)". Minutes of the Proceedings 182 (1910): 4. doi:10.1680/imotp.1910.16924.  edit
  5. ^ Google, Inc. "Caledonian Railway Bridge". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,-4.2589953,17z. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°51′20.8″N 4°15′32.2″W / 55.855778°N 4.258944°W / 55.855778; -4.258944