Barnes Bridge is famous as one of the prominent landmarks at the closing stages of the University Boat Race.
In 1847 an Act of Incorporation allowed the Windsor, Staines and South-Western Railway to build a 7.25 mile line from Barnes to Feltham. The line’s Thames crossing, designed by Joseph Locke and Thomas Brassey, was a three-arch bridge of cast-iron.
Opened in 1849, this loop line was to prove a useful by-pass for through passenger and freight traffic avoiding the busy route through Richmond. The increased traffic led to the ridge being strengthened in 1891 – 95, and a footbridge added on the down-stream side, which survives to this day.
In the past the railway organised special train services which allowed spectators a great view of the boat race from the comfort of a railway. The footbridge was made especially strong to support the crowds on Boat Race day. Today, however the footbridge is closed to pedestrians during the race.