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White Bridge (The bascule railway bridge)

A Grade II* Listed Building in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire

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Latitude: 51.849 / 51°50'56"N

Longitude: -4.3168 / 4°19'0"W

OS Eastings: 240514

OS Northings: 219246

OS Grid: SN405192

Mapcode National: GBR DF.TRVZ

Mapcode Global: VH3LH.4S6G

Entry Name: White Bridge (The bascule railway bridge)

Listing Date: 5 December 2002

Last Amended: 28 November 2003

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 80709

Building Class: Transport

Location: Railway bridge over Towy river and accessed via footpath in field behind Queen Elizabeth Maridunum School.

County: Carmarthenshire

Community: Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin)

Community: Carmarthen

Locality: Rhydygors

Built-Up Area: Carmarthen

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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Railway bridge over the Towy of 1908-11 replacing an opening timber bridge by Brunel of 1852-3 for the S Wales Railway, then no longer considered strong enough for the weight of modern rolling stock and locomotives. The replacement was built as a rolling bascule bridge by the Great Western Railway. In 1933 it was said that the bridge was an early design by the noted engineer Ralph Freeman. The contractor was the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Co of Darlington. The opening mechanism has been derelict for many years.


Railway bridge of 5 fixed spans and one roller lift span. Fourteen iron cylinders (weighted with concrete) braced by lattic girders and ornamented with cast-iron moulded capitals carry the steel superstructure of cross-girders and rail-bearers carried on bearing girders. Parapet of solid panels surmounted by lattice-work. Three-sided cast-iron pilasters articulate the bays of each span. Brick abutments, and as sub-structure of lifting mechanism.
The lifting span (westernmost) is a balanced cantilever carried on steel-plate bearing girders supported on 2 sets of cylinders. Lattice girders to span, curving down to the line of parapet of main bridge. Steel-plate cross girders and rail bearers, the cross girders alternately projecting to support outriggers of main girders. The moving span was operated by gearing carried on trestles on cantilevers either side of the bridge: a curved rack is fixed to the outer face of the main girders, driven by pinions themselves driven by wheels. These details survive, though the small power house which housed the electric motor on the S side of the bridge is now derelict.

Reasons for Listing

Included at II* as a rare surviving example of a bascule bridge, an unusual engineering structure with strong architectural character.

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