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Carlisle (Lune) Bridge
River Lune, Lancaster, Lancashire, UK
Carlisle (Lune) Bridge
associated engineer
Joseph Locke
date  1844 - 1846
UK era  Victorian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SD470624
ICE reference number  HEW 1002
photo  donation
The Carlisle (or Lune) Bridge carries the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway over the River Lune on three main spans of 120ft clear.
The railway was designed by Locke, assisted by John Edward Errington, and forms the central section of the West Coast Main Line between London and Glasgow, almost all of which Locke engineered. This section was built by a consortium of Thomas Brassey, William Mackenzie and John Stephenson in 1844-1846, opening in 1847.
As with many early railway bridges and viaducts, the bridge was built with its main river spans in laminated timber for speed of construction. This enabled the line to open sooner and earn income, part of which was set aside to replace the timber spans later. As intended, they were replaced by wrought iron girders in 1866.
The river spans were rebuilt in composite steel and concrete construction in 1962-1963, using four main longitudinal steel girders, and cantilevered steel girders carrying the concrete deck slab. The line was then electrified, the whole length being declared complete by HM The Queen when she unveiled a plaque to that effect on Preston Station on 7 May 1974.
The rusticated masonry river piers with their rounded cutwaters are set at 130ft centres. There is an approach span of 33ft clear in masonry on the north bank, and seven such spans on the south bank.
The bridge carries the twin tracks of the railway and two large service pipes. There is a public footway on the eastern side of the deck.
There is a watercolour by W.H. Nutter in the Lancaster Museum entitled Lancaster 1847 that shows this bridge with its original laminated timber spans.
Contractors: Thomas Brassey, William Mackenzie, John Stephenson
Research: PD
"Crewe to Carlisle" by B. Reed, Ian Allen, London, 1969
"The Official Guide to the Lancaster & Carlisle, Edinburgh & Glasgow, and Caledonian Railways" by G. Measom, WH Smith & Sons, London, 1859
"Lifelines 35: Joseph Locke" by C. Walker, Shire Publications Ltd, Risborough, 1975

Carlisle (Lune) Bridge