09 August 2012

Scottish Bridges: 37. Carron Bridge

We started the second day of our Scottish bridges trip with a drive along the River Spey. There are many fine bridges on this river, but we had time only for three, as we had a long journey north and east planned, eventually to end up on Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire.

The first bridge of the day was Bridge of Carron, which spans the River Spey some way south of Aberlour.

This was built in 1863 by McKinnon and Co Engineers of Aberdeen, to carry the Strathspey railway line. As built, it carried one rail track alongside a single lane highway. It has been described as the last cast-iron bridge to carry railway traffic in Scotland, although I am always sceptical of such claims. It is Listed, category A.

Spanning roughly 150 feet, it is clearly the descendant of Thomas Telford's cast iron bridges, with large cast iron ribs surmounted by X-braced spandrels. Telford's Craigellachie Bridge, which is not far from here, has a similar span although a slightly different spandrel bracing arrangement.

The Bridge at Carron has three arch ribs, each in seven sections. There are two small side arches built in masonry.

The railway was removed from the bridge in 1968, and in more recent times the trackbed was refurbished and converted into a footway. The bridge has been lucky to survive so well - there was a proposal in 1993 for it to be rebuilt in steel, which was successfully opposed by a number of heritage bodies.

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