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Kew Railway Bridge
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In 1864 the London & Southwestern Railway Company was given permission to extend its line from South Acton to Richmond and this bridge at Strand-on-the-Green was built to carry it, opening on 1 January 1869.The bridge was designed by W. R. Galbraith, and it was built by Brassey & Ogilvie. (Galbraith was later to design the Waterloo & City Line, now part of the Underground, which opened in 1898.) It is a fairly standard lattice-girder bridge, with five 115-foot spans, but its decoration is highly unusual. It has cylindrical cast-iron piers, each one decorated with four cast-iron columns with ornamental capitals and, at track level, there is a sort of tabernacle. The abutments are of brick with some fine sculpted stonework, and they each contain a pedestrian tunnel. The bridge was much criticised at the time, and it does loom rather large over the charming riverside enclave of Strand-on-the Green, but its decorative features make it one of the most attractive railway bridges in London.

Kew Railway Bridge

Kew Railway Bridge looking towards Strand-on-the-Green

When first built, the bridge was painted a rather dull grey, but in 1986 it was repainted in a more pleasing light green. Today it looks a little sad and unloved, as the
brickwork is crumbling, there is a lot of graffiti, and a number of the decorative columns are missing from the piers. The Thames Path on both shores now bypasses the abutments, which have been allowed to fall into disrepair (although the one on the north bank now houses the Strand-on-the-Green Sailing Club).

Kew Railway Bridge

Kew Railway Bridge under construction

Today the bridge is used by the North London Line, which takes a meandering semicircular route from Richmond to Stratford, as well as the Richmond branch of the District Line of the Underground.

Kew Railway Bridge

Kew Railway Bridge - close-up of one of the pavilions.

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