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Hull and Barnsley Railway Bridge - River Ouse - Yorkshire
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Address: Long Drax
County: Yorkshire
Country: England
OS Grid Ref: SE685280
     Nicholsons Guide to the Waterways
     Volume 6, page 93 © 2000 Collins
Type: Swing
Built: pre-1891
Construction: lattice girder
Power: Hydraulic
Use: Rail
Customer: Hull, Barnsley & West Riding Junction Railway
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The bridge over the Ouse
The bridge over the Ouse
Construction Partners:
Designer: William Shelford
Manufacturer: Butler & Pitts of Stanningley - fixed spans
Manufacturer: Sir W.G. Armstrong, Mitchell & Co. - swing span
Manufacturer: A. Handyside & Co Ltd - Ironwork
Build Information:
Technical Information:
Visited by: ,
Present Condition: Abutments remain
General notes:
The bridge carried the Hull, Barnsley and West Riding Junction Railway.

The railway was built after 1853, appearing on OS maps from 1891 to 1953. These entries showed a large central caisson, so presumably the bridge was a symmetrical swing bridge. The approach embankments still exist and end on both sides of the river with the stone piers. The central caisson and all signs of the swing span seem to have been removed.

The Hull & Barnsley Railway cost 6,000,000 to build - a massive amount at the time yet the railway never actually reached Barnsley! The principle freight on the railway is reported to have been New Zealand and Australian wool between the Hull docks and West Yorkshire woollen mills.

The HBR website records that the swing bridge near Drax consisted of two fixed spans of 77ft 6in on either side of the river, wit h a main section of 248ft.

The swing span weight 649 tons and gave a head clearance of 15ft at high water. It was built of wrought iron in a bowstring girder form.

Designed by William Shelford, the bridge was operated by a steam powered hydraulic system manufactured by Sir Wim Armstrong, Mitchell & Co. The boiler engine and pumps were housed in the centre pier. John Teasdale suggests that detailed design work for the ironwork would have been carried out by Handysides, and for the hydraulic machinery by Armstrong and Mitchells.

There are photographs of the bridge at The HBR website describes an unusual latching system which ensured a true rail connection, and also connected the signal wires (the box sat on top of the centre section). The bridge could theoretically be rotated through 180 degrees and give a sound rail connection, but the wires would have connected to the wrong signals.

My thanks to Mike Penrice for drawing my attention to the HBR website, and my thanks to Richard Barron for allowing me to use his images of the bridge.

Peter Jagger - a local schoolboy in the early 60's - tells me that he has given some black and white photos of the bridge to the new Histpry Museum in Hull and that the museum has the original prints showing the construction of the railway.

Acknowledgements :   Mike Penrice; Richard Barron; Peter Jagger 
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