Southern pre-cast concrete footbridges remembered

An interesting article in the Southern Railway’s Group Notebook just received today, reminded me that these structures, which were prefabricated to a standard design and such a feature of Southern Railway stations, were nearly coincidental with the formation of the company in 1923.

The first such example was designed by W.H Shortt M Inst CE, the L&SWR later SR Divisional Engineer at Exeter,  in whose patch the Exmouth Concrete Works, where they were made, had been established in 1913, and was erected in 1924. This first installation took 13 hours and the design was described thus by the designer in a report published in The Railway Engineer- “No bolts or tie rods are anywhere used to hold the various parts of the bridge together, all being designed to be mutually self-supporting when once fitted together; further, no reinforcement is anywhere exposed for the purpose of joint making..”

The design continued to be used well into British Railway days and spread far & wide, in many cases well beyond SR or BR(S) territory. I have seen one at Towyn (North Wales)- now demolished. Hornby Dublo produced a die-cast metal model version in OO which probably means there was one within easy travelling distance of the Meccano works in Binns Road, Liverpool 3!

There are plenty still around, which for a 94 year old design ain’t bad!