Saturday, 30 April 2016

The bridge was too low.

The Downs Link in Spring.

A couple of days ago I had a short ride on the Downs Link cycle track. This runs along the bed of the old railway from Guildford in Surrey to Shoreham by Sea. It was pleasant cycling, with bluebells carpeting the woods on both sides and the trees just bursting into leaf. Unfortunately I was not aware that a tunnel had been blocked up and the path diverted over the top. This was made known to me when I tackled the 200yds. at 1 in 5. I know it was that steep because that is the gradient at which the front wheel of my bicycle leaves the ground on each pedal stroke. With the back wheel skidding on the loose gravel it made for quite an interesting climb.

The bridge on a bridge over the River Arun.
But what about this bridge? It carried the original line of the Horsham and Guildford Direct Railway over the River Arun but when the line was opened in 1865, the inspector of the Board of Trade decreed that Rudgwick Station, sited on an incline of 1 in 60, was too steep to be used safely and so the railway company had to lessen the incline. It could only do this by raising the embankment and consequently, the bridge, which it achieved by simply building the girder bridge on top of the brick bridge.

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