The film “Harry Potter” made the Scottish Highlands Western Railway famous all over the world and became a destination for many tourists. The image of a steam train flying on a stone-built viaduct is fixed in the memory of countless people. In the UK, there are still many places where similar scenery can be seen, as the railway bridge was mushroomed in the late 19th century and became a legacy of the Victorian era for the modern railway system.
A long time ago, I revisited the longest name of Berwick-upon-Tweed in the northernmost city of England. There is a famous elevated railway bridge with a length of 660 meters. The 28 bridges made of stone span the Tweed River and the highest point is 37 meters high. A good place to admire the bridge is the wall of the small town, because the railway has gone through a large arc and passed a 90-degree bend outside the city. Standing on the wall facing the railway, you can see the beautiful panorama, and the passengers on the train can also enjoy this ancient town from a height.
The railway bridge was put into use in 1850. The official name is the Royal Border Bridge, as it continues north and the front is Scotland. After nearly 170 years of construction, it is still used frequently. Every day, trains between England and Scotland along the east coast of the UK pass through the bridge. The only major change since the completion was electrification. In order to protect the bridge landscape, the design plan was submitted to the Royal Arts Council for instructions when installing the overhead cable.
The Royal Border Bridge is a stone bridge. With Victorian technology, the distance between the bridges and the arches is unlikely to be too large. It is not a problem to build on the Tweed River about 200 meters wide, but if it is a wider and deeper river, it must use other Materials and design.
The narrowest point of the Firth of Forth in the north of Edinburgh is also 1,500 meters. It is much more difficult to build a bridge here. The Forth Railway Bridge, which was completed and put into use in 1890, is a steel cantilever bridge with a span of more than 500 meters and a bridge length of nearly 2,500 meters. It is a masterpiece of engineering and unique in appearance, very elegant and spectacular.
The Flowserve Railway Bridge is still in use today and is a must for the Northbound train from Edinburgh. The last time I went to the bridge, I saw a train passing by every few minutes. In the near observation, the dense rivets on the bridge are clearly visible. This is because the steel produced at that time was limited in size. The entire bridge was riveted with countless small pieces of steel. It is still very popular to use it today. Therefore, the Flowserve Railway Bridge has always been the pride of Scotland.
The Victorian era left Britain with countless legacy, and the railway is one of them. The two railway bridges over the age of 100 mentioned above are still in use today. On the one hand, the engineering design is advanced and the quality is excellent. On the other hand, it also reflects that the UK has not invested in infrastructure in recent decades, and there are no new railways. For example, the only section of the high-speed rail in the UK is the section connecting London and the Anglo-French tunnel. The plan to build a second high-speed rail has been discussed for many years and has been slow.
In fact, the United Kingdom has also removed a large number of feeder railways since the 1960s on the grounds that the number of passengers is insufficient and there is a lack of funds for maintenance. As a result, many small places no longer have access to the railway. In recent years, railway travel has once again been favored. The resumption of the railways that were demolished in the past has been high, and the government has begun to take action. For example, the railway from Edinburgh to the “border” area in southern Scotland was reopened in 2015.
It is impossible to dream of restoring the glory of the Victorian era, but these engineering masterpieces are retained to this day, at least to remind us at all times how high the combination of engineering and design can be achieved.