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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 41 - Summer 1980
A Tale of Two Bridges (Part 2) - Frank Boait
(continued from Quainton News No. 40 - page 11)
Photo: - J R Fairman - Restored- May 1980
Having removed the bridge from the abutments, the intention was to suspend it from two temporary gantries, leaving the base of the bridge hanging in midair. This was to enable the whole of the rotten substructure and end plates to be cut away from the basically sound lattice work. The lattice work sides, after cleaning, were to be lowered and then rivetted onto a new substructure fashioned from two 45 foot beams supplied by an outside contractor. The whole task to be completed within twelve weekends.
Work started enthusiastically with the rivets easily removed, but progress then slowed as the number of welded patches and plates became apparent. These legacies of British Rail repair work meant that it took seven weekends to cut away the substructure, and it wasn't until 8th March that the last of the old beams was finally removed. It had already been realised that, at the current rate of progress, the 30th March deadline would not be met, so a number of members had agreed to work a full week on the bridge.
Monday saw an early start on lining up the two new beams parallel and level to one another prior to the welding on of the cross ties. This work, together with the grinding clean of the lattice, was completed on Wednesday morning and a crane hurriedly hired to lower the lattice work into place that same afternoon. Unfortunately, this happened to be the wettest day of the whole week and one poor benighted soul had to stand 15 feet in the air directing the crane, whilst the others stood in the shelter of the bookshop. (Nice work Dave!)
The next two days were mainly spent drilling some of the 600 holes necessary, but a start was made on the rivetting. The Society's new rivet hammer was only obtained the previous day through the unflagging efforts of Roy in unravelling red tape after phone calls as far afield as Truro and Aberdeen. Drilling and rivetting continued for the next two weekends and the last rivet was finally fitted on Saturday 29th March, even as the timber decking was being laid. These two weekends also saw new sections of angle being pieced-in where the existing material had rotted away, and the fitting of four out of six new bracing angles. At this stage the smoke deflectors were also refitted, with new brackets welded on to the main beams.
The rebuilt bridge was lifted back into place with the crane standing on the BR track, as before. It was bolted into place and the BR Inspectors declared themselves extremely satisfied with the completed repair. The remaining work of fitting the steps and finishing the painting was completed on Good Friday.
The project involved over 1,000 man-hours, compressed into relatively few days of 10-14 hours work, and cost the Society approximately £5,000. Against this it should be considered that commercially it would have cost £15,000-£16,000.
(At the Executive Committee Meeting, on 19th April, great pleasure was expressed at the magnificent work achieved and given BR approval. The Hon. Secretary was asked to write a thank you notice which was posted on the mess room noticeboard.)
Below: On 19th May, 25266 of Cricklewood depot passes under the restored footbridge at 2.10 p.m. on a short van train for Aylesbury.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 17 November 2017