Victoria Railway Bridge – Thames Tour, Bradshaw’s Handbook, no.117

‘..The Victoria Railway Bridge … is one of the most satisfactory bridges spanning the Thames…’, says Mr Bradshaw. ‘…Built on three stone piers, its noble iron arches have an appearance of strength and elegance which, with its level road, make it one of the latest triumphs of science and art, remembering that it has been completed in about twelve months. Over this important bridge run, or will run, the trains of the Brighton, Crystal Palace, Chatham and Dover, and Great Western railway companies to the new and magnificent Victoria Station..’.

The Victoria Railway Bridge no.1, also known as the Grosvenor Railway Bridge, was built by Sir John Fowler in 1859-60. It had two tracks and was the first railway bridge across the Thames into London, taking trains and their passengers to Victoria Station. It was widened by building a second bridge alongside the first in 1865-66 as the railways expanded and the demand for Victoria Station increased (London, Brighton, & South Coast Railway; London, Chatham & Dover Railway), and again in 1907 (London, Brighton, & South Coast Railway) when a third bridge was built to match the first and second. This is the bridge about which Mr Bradshaw enthused.

Battersea, Chelsea & Vauxhall Bridges, with the start of the railway bridge, 1859 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ILN_Vauxhall,_Victoria_%26_Battersea_bridges.jpg)
From the top: Battersea, Chelsea & Vauxhall Bridges, with the start of the railway bridge, 1859 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ILN_Vauxhall,_Victoria_%26_Battersea_bridges.jpg)
The new railway bridge as published in the Illustrated London News (as advertised on EBay)
The new railway bridge being built, The Illustrated London News, 1860 (as advertised on EBay)
Victoria Railway Bridge, 1897 (http://thames.me.uk/s00160.htm#top)
Victoria Railway Bridge, 1897 (http://thames.me.uk/s00160.htm#top)

The Victoria Railway Bridge Bridge no.2 replaced the first bridge in 1963-67. The superstructure was completely replaced and today’s bridge has ten tracks, with a separate span for each track, and the original piers encased in concrete.

The Victoria Rail Bridge, with Chelsea Bridge beyond, from downriver
From downriver, the Victoria Rail Bridge in the distance, with Chelsea Bridge beyond
The Victoria Rail Bridge
The Victoria Rail Bridge
The Victoria Rail Bridge
The Victoria Rail Bridge
Victoria Railway Bridge from the river
Victoria Railway Bridge from the river

The railway line followed the line of the Grosvenor Canal and the terminus, Victoria Railway Station, was built over the Canal Basin. The remains of the canal are still visible: the Western Pumping Station, its chimney, and the entrance to the canal from the Thames.

The Victoria Rail Bridge
The Victoria Rail Bridge with the Western Pumping Station on the left

Victoria Railway Station is actually two separate railway stations, side by side. The London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Station opened in 1860 and the site included the Grosvenor Hotel. This side of the station, and the hotel, was rebuilt in 1906. Today platforms 9-19 continue to service the south and the south coast, and include the Gatwick Express.

Victoria Station, the Brighton side
Victoria Station, the Brighton side
Victoria Station, the Brighton side
Victoria Station, the Brighton side
The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria Station
The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria Station

The London, Chatham & Dover railway joined with the South East & Chatham railway and its new entrance was also rebuilt in 1906. Today this eastern side of the station continues to service the south east from platforms 1-8, and platform 2 is the departure point for the Venice Orient Express.

Victoria Station, the Chatham & Dover side
Victoria Station, the Chatham & Dover side
The East side of Victoria Station
The Chatham side of Victoria Station
The east side of Victoria Station
The Chatham side of Victoria Station
The Chatham side of Victoria Station
The Chatham side of Victoria Station

You may be interested in
The Victoria (Grosvenor) Bridge
A blog about bridges
The Secrets of London’s Bridges
Victoria Station

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