April 26th 2019 (the meeting will be preceded by a short (10 minute) AGM)
Alan Hayward presents
“The Severn Railway Bridge Disaster
It was the longest railway bridge in
England, built in 1879 to export minerals
from the Forest of Dean. As a single track bridge on cast-iron columns it was
vulnerable, being repeatedly struck by vessels.
All 22 spans were being strengthened for heavier
trains in October 1960 when the bridge was struck in darkness and fog by two oil barges
out of control, only minutes after the last train. Two spans collapsed, and the oil caught alight. Five
barge crew members perished, but by sheer good fortune 30 bridge workers were unharmed.
British Railways planned restoration but with only negligible compensation decided
on demolition. The bridge finally disappeared in 1970.
Another month of interest?
Click on the date below.