History in Structure

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White Bridge (The Bacule railway bridge)

A Grade II* Listed Building in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire

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Latitude: 51.8489 / 51°50'56"N

Longitude: -4.3166 / 4°18'59"W

OS Eastings: 240532

OS Northings: 219239

OS Grid: SN405192

Mapcode National: GBR DF.TRY6

Mapcode Global: VH3LH.4SBH

Entry Name: White Bridge (The Bacule railway bridge)

Listing Date: 5 December 2002

Last Amended: 16 January 2004

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 82396

Location: Spanning the Afon Tywi to the SW of Carmarthen.

County: Carmarthenshire

Town: Carmarthen

Community: Llangunnor (Llangynnwr)

Community: Llangunnor

Locality: Rhydygors

Built-Up Area: Carmarthen

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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Railway bridge over the Towy of 1908-11 replacing an opening timber bridge by I.K. Brunel of 1852-3 for the South Wales Railway, then no longer considered strong enough for the weight of modern rolling stock and locomotives. The replacement was built as a rolling bascule bridge by the Great Western Railway. In 1933 it was said that the bridge was an early design by the noted engineer Ralph Freeman. The contractor was the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Co of Darlington. The opening mechanism has been derelict for many years.


Railway bridge of 5 fixed spans and one roller lift span. Fourteen iron cylinders (weighted with concrete), braced by lattice girders and ornamented with cast-iron moulded capitals, carry the steel superstructure of cross-girders and rail-bearers carried on bearing girders. The parapet of solid panels is surmounted by lattice-work. Three-sided cast-iron pilasters articulate the bays of each span. Abutments and the sub-structure of the lifting mechanism are brick.

The lifting span (westernmost) is a balanced cantilever carried on steel-plate bearing girders supported on 2 sets of cylinders. Lattice girders curve down to the line of the parapet of the main bridge. Steel-plate cross girders and rail bearers, the cross girders alternately projecting to support outriggers of the main girders. 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 which housed the electric motor on the S side of the bridge is now derelict.

Reasons for Listing

Listed grade II* as a rare surviving example of a bascule bridge, an unusual engineering structure with strong architectural character.

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