Hadrian's Cycleway


Hagg Bank Bridge (1876)


Viewed from the south bank looking downstream.

When it was built by the Scotswood, Newburn and Wylam Railway Company in 1876, the design was ahead of its time.

The original plan had been to build a bridge with 4 spans resting on 3 piers on the river bed. This was rejected by the local coal companies who feared that the construction of the piers on the river bed would disturb the shallow mine workings below, which already suffered from flooding.

The designers found the solution in designing a single span bridge carrying a double track, without the need for piers. The bridge consists of three parallel wrought iron arches resting on abutments on each bank, with the twin rail decks suspended by 14 wrought iron drop bars. It cost £16,000 to build.

The bridge paved the way for new developments in bridge building - Newcastle's Tyne Bridge in 1928, and Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932, being direct descendants of the design and construction of Hagg's Bridge.

Many of the trains which used the bridge carried coal from the collieries at Newburn and Walbottle westwards to Carlisle.

The line was closed in 1968 and the bridge later purchased by Northumberland County Council. It was restored in 1997 with help from the Heritage lottery Fund.

All the old lead based paint was removed requiring the bridge to be wrapped in plastic to prevent pollution the river.

 


Looking westbound towards Hagg Bank.

The bridge is now used as a walkway and by Hadrian's Cycleway, NCN 72.