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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Olton Station: gwro2698

Brunel's bowed balloon-top wrought iron plate girder bridge crossing the Warwick to Birmingham turnpike road

Brunel's bowed balloon-top wrought iron plate girder bridge carrying the Birmingham & Oxford Junction Railway (B&OJR) over the Warwick to Birmingham turnpike road (now Warwick Road) at Olton, circa 1900. On the right is Olton's Primitive Methodist chapel which was built in the mid 19th century and is now a commercial premise. The bridge was built in 1851-52, strengthened in 1898 (see image 'gwro2692') and only replaced in 1933, when the railway route was quadrupled and the opportunity taken by the local authority to widen the road.

Graham Laucht who has been researching Brunel's Bridges on the B&OJR writes that the 'structure appears to consist of five equal width bays of 20 feet thus 100 feet overall, with each bay assembled from five 48 inch wide plates with 3 inch overlap strips, in the manner of those examples north toward Birmingham and placing it in the same timeframe of 1851-52. Photograph shows bridge partially obscured by foliage and with marked foreshortening due to acute camera angle. By establishing the photographer's position by reference to the whole scene and typical lens focal length the structure outline was traced and expanded in Autocad.'

Dimensions: 94 foot span, 9 foot, 9 inches girder height, 15 feet, 8 inches between girder centres on 67 degree skew.

Possibly constructed from components manufactured at Fox Henderson's London Road Works at Smethwick and shipped by canal to nearby Olton Wharf.’

Robert Ferris