Brace yourself!


Ogley Junction – where the Anglesey Branch meets the former Wyrley & Essington mainline to Huddlesford.

Here’s a quick one I spotted locally last week: I was going to put it on my 365daysofbiking journal, but I thought it deserved a wider audience and debate – it seems the cast iron bridge at Ogley Junction, near Grasmere Gardens, was once damaged or cracked and repaired.

The damage was repaired a long, long time ago, and the repair is very evident, but I’ve never once noticed it in the hundreds of times I’ve crossed or dawdled on the bridge. From the materials used, the repair is old and must have been hard work.


The bracers fitted to the rail are highlighted: I’ve never noticed them before. They aren’t present anywhere else on the bridge. What happened? Click for a larger version.

It’s easy to spot; as one walks over the footbridge towards Chasewater from Brownhills, looking at the northwestern guard rail on the slope down, there are bracing plates bored across the webs of the casting. They look to be bolted with maybe ¾ or 1 inch bolts and big, square nuts; drilling the holes for those can’t have been fun.

What I’m asking, I guess, is what happened? Was there some accident after installation, or would Horseley Iron Works (who in all probability cast the bridge like others on the line) have sent a repaired, weak casting?

Is there any record of an accident here?

Just a bit of a curiosity, and I’m amazed I’ve never noticed it before. Please do comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

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1 Response to Brace yourself!

  1. Graham says:

    This is a strange one Bob. Assuming that the damage was done by an impact two things strike me. Firstly, that it must have been of considerable force. Secondly, since the damage is all low down the impact must have been low down too. Very strange.

    The square headed bolts are easier to explain. The waterways authorities have always liked square heads as when constantly wet they remain useable longer than hex heads. A hex head when it rusts loses its flat faces very quickly & so can no longer be removed with a spanner.

    When I worked in the bolt & nut industry square heads were no longer used by modern industry & BW were always looking for obsolete stocks. In particular they needed long bolts for wooden lock gates. These bolts needed to have not only a square head and nut but also a square underhead to grip the wood. Unfortunately, all the small firms which could forge the small quantities needed had gone. Eventually my firm developed a way of welding square nuts to threaded rod. It was not the most elegant solution and I don’t know what they do for supplies now.

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