Britannia Bridge - Rebuilding

The fire damage was so severe that the bridge had to be completely rebuilt. A new design was chosen, using a more conventional arch structure. This option had not been open to Stephenson because of Admiralty insistence on adequate clearance for its sailing vessels. However, priority was also given to re-establishing the rail link as soon as possible, so the bridge went through several phases of reconstruction.

Britannia Bridge 1973 (s0100.jpg)

New steel arches were constructed between the 3 major towers. Steelwork was partially assembled at Port Dinorwic and floated down the Menai Straits in sections to be lifted up each tower. The completed arches are seen here.

Britannia Bridge 1973 (s0102.jpg)

These arches - part of the final structure - also supported the original tubes at this time. A rail link was restored through the up line tube from 1972, and work then started to remove the down line tube. In this photograph of the mainland tower, only one tube remains. The downside tube has gone, and the opening in the tower has been enlarged considerably.

Britannia Bridge 1973 (s0101.jpg)

Another view of the tower shows the new arch. The tube on the far side is obscured by the new steel parapet - eventually to be painted light grey, but at this time much the same colour as the old tubes.

Britannia Bridge 1973 (s0103.jpg)

As mentioned, the railway line was back in use, and Class 46 1617 leaves the bridge, running light engine to Crewe.

Britannia Bridge 1974 (s0218.jpg)

When the new rail deck was completed on the site of the down side tube, traffic switched to that side and the up side tube was removed. This process was complete when this picture was taken, although final work on the concrete arches in each tower had not been finished. The bridge remained in this intermediate state for a few years before the work started to contruct the road deck.