A great feat of engineering

The Skew Bridge

By Jill Barber

skew bridge at Harpenden
Jill Barber

The Midland railway was built in 1868 from Derby to Leicester, then later to Bedford and eventually London. It has cuttings, viaducts including a skew arch bridge at Harpenden and tunnels at Ampthill and for over half a mile at Elstree.

The National Railway Museum has a wonderful picture showing navvies working on the skew bridge at Harpenden when the line from Chiltern Green to Elstree was widened in 1893. 

A skew bridge is a bridge that has a line of arches which are not at right angles to the abutment.

This page was added on 13/07/2009.

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  • Well over 100 years old & still in service! Is it listed or registered in any way? Does anyone know if such records of this & similar structures are available? There’s a bridge in daily use just north of Knebworth Station with the widest span over the East Coast mainline between Kings Cross & York. Another masterpiece along with Digswell Viaduct.

    By Peter ALLAM (11/11/2020)