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British Industrial History

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Blackfriars Railway Bridge

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Blackfriars Railway Bridge, in London, is a railway bridge serving Blackfriars Bridge Railway Station. It crosses the River Thames, downstream of Blackfriars Bridge and upstream of the Millennium Bridge.

There have been two structures with this name. The first bridge was opened in 1864 and was designed by Joseph Cubitt for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. Massive abutments at each end carried the railway's insignia - the abutment at the southern side have been preserved and restored (see picture_.

The second bridge, built slightly further downstream (to the east), was originally called St Paul's Railway Bridge and opened in 1886. It was designed by John Wolfe-Barry and Henry Marc Brunel and is made of wrought iron. It was built by Lucas and Aird.

Following the formation of the Southern Railway in 1924, inter-city and continental services were concentrated on Waterloo, and St Paul's Railway Station became a local and suburban stop.

When St Paul's railway station changed its name to Blackfriars in 1937 the railway bridge was renamed as well.

As St Paul's station became a local station, the use of the original bridge gradually declined. It eventually became too weak to support modern trains, and was therefore removed in 1985 - all that remains is a series of columns crossing the Thames and the southern abutment, which is a Grade II listed structure.

At the southern end of the bridge was Blackfriars Bridge Railway Station which opened in 1864 before closing to passengers in 1885 following the opening of what is today the main Blackfriars station. Blackfriars Bridge railway station continued as a goods stop until 1964 when it was completely demolished, and much of it redeveloped into offices.

Today the railway station extends across the bridge and is a station on the Thameslink line.

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