Opened in 1863, the five-arched Battersea Railway Bridge carries London’s only north-south through-route.
The bridge was part of the West London Extension Railway, connecting the main lines radiating to the north, out of Paddington and Euston, with lines running south from Waterloo, Victoria and Clapham Junction.
To cross the 706 ft wide river the construction company built a 1,270 ft viaduct. The track was not only laid for standard gauge, but also the GWR’s broad gauge.
Its opening led to a significant increase in freight traffic but passenger services did not commence until 1904. In 1979 long distance passenger services resumed with daily return Manchester – Brighton Inter-City services. These trains also serve the increasingly busy Gatwick Airport.
A major problem with Battersea Railway Bridge is that trains crossing it are restricted to 15 miles per hour. This gives the bridge the distinction of being the slowest railway crossing on the Thames.