From the platform, it is very hard to spot the detailed work being carried out on the bridge. The work mainly focuses on replacing like for like, with old wasted sections being cut away and replaced with newly fabricated parts.
When painted, it’s hard to spot the new work; if you look carefully, the clue is that the new parts are welded or bolted in place with dome head bolts, whereas the old work is normally retained in place with rivets. Once you get your bridge spotters eye in, you will be surprised how much work the bridge gang have achieved – it is slow, laborious work.
A major milestone has been reached with the fitting of the new steps and the associated reinforcing stringer sections to the bridge. Work has now started on corroded support sections under the bridge. New smoke deflectors will soon be made up and fitted. Have you ever wondered what was the purpose of bridge mounted smoke deflectors? I am informed that, apart from deflecting the smoke away from the public on the bridge, it also helped to keep the acidic smoke off the bridge structure, helping to reduce the corrosive effects of acid.
The bridge team have noted that one side of the bridge has more corrosion damage than the other, one possible theory for this is that it was caused by our steam engines working hard climbing the bank as they depart North Weald, whilst on the other side they are rolling downhill.
The bridge team hope that once their current work is completed, no further major structural work will be required for many years.
On behalf of the bridge gang.