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Old Tram Bridge, Preston
River Ribble, Avenham Park, Preston, Lancashire
Old Tram Bridge, Preston
associated engineer
John Rennie snr
Matthews & Mumby Ltd
date  1803, 1965 - 1966
era  Georgian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SD540286
ICE reference number  HEW 1349
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
The footbridge over the Ribble in Avenham Park is a modern replica of a timber trestle bridge designed for the horse-drawn tramway that linked two sections of the Lancaster Canal.
The canal was originally intended to run all the way from Kendal in Cumbria to Westhoughton, near Wigan. This route included two major river crossings for which aqueducts were proposed — the Lune Aqueduct and an even larger one over the River Ribble at Preston. The Lune Aqueduct went ahead but the the cost was so high that plans to build the larger one were abandoned. Instead, the Lancaster Canal Tramroad was constructed, crossing the river on the timber bridge. Both were designed by Rennie.
The tramway linked to the bridge via a large incline at Preston (steps and a footpath through the park mark its former location). After the bridge, the horse-drawn tram continued along a 1.1km tree-lined embankment to Penwortham Mill, before rising to Walton Summit on another incline.
Tramway operations ceased around 1860 and ownership of the bridge was given to the Preston Corporation by the London & North Western Railway in 1872. By 1965 the timber bridge was much decayed.
It was replaced by Matthews & Mumby with a modern bridge designed to look as much like the original as possible. They used reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete beams. The present bridge, and by implication the original one, has nine spans of approximately 13.7m each and an overall length of 123.5m.
Main contractor (1803): William Cartwright
Research: PHEW
"The Industrial Archaeology of Lancashire" by Owen Ashmore
David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1969
reference sources   ICE / INCH

Old Tram Bridge, Preston

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source : Panoramio
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