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Trevor Edwards | profile | all galleries >> Sheppey Pictures and Postcards >> Kingsferry Bridge tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Kingsferry Bridge

Not just the Kingsferry bridge, but the old bridge and the new Swale crossing as it's built.
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During the reign of Edward I (1239-1307), according to the historian Charles Igglesden, a bridge connected Sheppey to the mainland at Elmley. It was called the Tremsethg Bridge but was lost in a freak tidal wave and never replaced.

In much more modern times, the Kingsferry Bridge (replacing the ferry) has been built. There have been three bridges, each having to be built to allow passage along the navigable waterway to The Swale:

July 19, 1860: The South Eastern Railway built this first bridge to an Admiralty design. It had a central span raised from two towers. Trains and road traffic were able to use it, as with the next two bridges.
November 6, 1906: The South Eastern and Chatham Railway replaced the first bridge with one having a "rolling lift" design. It was originally worked by hand, but later by electricity.
October 1959: The present bridge was built. It is a lifting bridge, able to lift both the road and the railway line to allow ships to pass beneath.
(Information on the bridge from Railways of the Southern Region Geoffrey Body (PSL Field Guide 1884)

A gradual increase in traffic flows to and from Sheppey brought increasingly bad vehicle holdups, and construction of a second road bridge began in early 2004; it is due to be completed by summer 2006. This bridge differs from previous bridges in that it is fixed, rising to a height of 20m above the Swale. This bridge will carry the improved A249 trunk road, also opening in summer 2006.
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