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The Trent Valley Line was opened in 1847 to give a more direct route from London to the North West of England, bypassing the existing route via Birmingham, which had been constructed by the Grand Junction Railway and the London and Birmingham Railway a decade earlier.
1847 'Trent Valley Railway—Providential Discovery.— Apprehensions having been entertained by the engineers and contractors of this railway, as to the safety of the bridge which crosses the Tame, a man was appointed to watch the progress of any defect which might bo observable in the structure, either from subsidence or other causes. This bridge consists of three divisions of about seventy feet span, supported by two piers in the bed of the stream, the line being formed by iron girders, and the whole being constructed on a principle precisely similar to the bridge over the Dee, on the Chester Railway, where the late melancholy accident occurred. It appears that the doubts entertained as to the stability of the structure did not originate without sufficient cause, as, on Monday, the man appointed to watch the bridge perceived that one of the immense iron girders was giving way. The circumstance was immediately reported to the officers of the company, and measures will no doubt be taken, not only to repair the fracture, but to ascertain the perfect stability of the work, before the opening of the line for traffic. On the whole it is a matter of congratulation that the state of the bridge was discovered thus early, as, had it given way during the passing of the trains, the consequences would have been frightful to contemplate.'