Alex Seal

The Royal Albert Bridge comprises of two main spans support on a single deep water pier set in mid stream, with a substantial masonry pier on each foreshore; together with a series of approach spans from each bank.

The Royal Albert Bridge

The "Bowstring Suspension Bridge" design comprised of a wrought iron tubular arch or bow, having a profile generally in the form of a parabola, in a combination with sets of suspension chains hanging on each side of the tube in a catenary curve. The tubes included as great a rise as the chains had dip at the centre of each span, where the overall depth of truss is 72 feet. From the centre of the tube to the top of the chains is 56 feet 3 inches.

A plate girder roadway, that carries the railway track is slung below each tube by eleven pairs of vertical members. These pass through and are connected to the chains, while intermediate hangers located midway between these verticals, are attached solely to the chains. The two main spans are in fact based on the principle of a suspension bridge, making The Royal Albert Bridge unique to this day as the only one of that type that carries main line trains.

To overcome the limitations of the suspension system the verticals are restrained through a continuous system of diagonal bracing. These comprise of a series of long wrought iron members, each pinned at both ends to connect the main tube and the chain links, while each pair of verticals is braced together by transverse struts and sets of diagonal stays. The overall result is a construction of simple yet graceful design.

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