Wednesday, 11 August 2021


There’s a lovely walk we often do along the River Towy a mile or so south of Carmarthen town centre.  Soon into the walk you see the six spans of the railway bridge over the river. 

A bridge of ornamental cast iron and rivets

A working monument of ornamented cast iron and rivets in a garb of grey paint. Closer to the bridge one gazes up its imposing its lifting gear, giant cogs and levers.

Cogs, wheels and levers

This a rolling bascule bridge, its western most span is a lifting span. Built in 1908 – 11 to replace a wooden bridge which could not carry heavier rolling stock. An engineered balanced cantilever bridge. The moving span was operated by gearing carried on trestles on cantilevers either side of the bridge: a curved rack is fixed to the outer face of the main girders, driven by pinions themselves driven by wheels. 


These details survive, though the small power house is now derelict. It housed the electric motor to make the span lift, allowing shipping through. With its lovely purple-blue engineering bricks is now practise area for graffiti artists and home to buddleia. 


It was tested manually every Sunday up until 1957.



The river carries no commercial traffic today, its path is a recreational joy. The bridge, its river and surroundings doze, prodded several times an hour by trains hurting westwards to Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock and Fishguard.  


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Thank you very much for your comments - Tim