Ted Sedman reports
"BW booklet (British Waterways Inland Cruising Booklet 6 - 1966) says, "Before a vessel can reach the river a swing bridge under the railway must be opened by the staff of the nearby railway station. Opening the bridge is a laborious and time-consuming task; it is better to use Duke’s Cut if reaching the Thames is a matter of urgency."
Less than ten years later Nicholson’s says, "... This bridge, which needs 4 railway men to open it, has been a notorious obstruction for years, but fortunately BR do not use the bridge much now and only close it to boats when they need to. So the situation nowadays is that the swing bridge is open to boats all through the weekends and every weekday except from 2.30 to 4.30 in the afternoon."
We went that way several times in 1974/1975 and the bridge was never across, but perhaps it was always morning, evening or weekends I wouldn’t remember!"
The tracks to the north of the bridge were removed in 1985, and the bridge was then abandoned in the open position, leaving the channel free for waterborne traffic. According to the Oxford Mail archives for 30th April 2003 the Oxford Preservation Trust were looking to raise £200,000 to restore the bridge, based on a feasibility study carried out by the Railway Heritage Trust.
John Powell believes that following the demise of British Rail all abandoned rail bridges fall under the ownership of the British Rail Estates Department Residuary Body.
The bridge was reconstructed in 1906 using steel girders. It was closed to passenger traffic in 1951 and to goods traffic in 1984.
The Buckinghamshore Railway was later absorbed by the London and North Western Railway.
By 2012 a partnership had been formed with the intention of restoration - the partnership included the Oxford Preservation Trust, English Heritage and Network Rail (who are still the owners of the bridge).