Silver Service (The Silver Jubilee Bridge, Runcorn)

While staying in Britain (and while the author is currently on vacation for the rest of the week), we will have a look at this bridge: the Silver Jubilee Bridge, spanning the River Mersey in northwestern England. While the bridges of London, Manchester and Oxford as well as the aforementioned bridges in England plus another bridge to be profiled soon have received a lot of publicity, this steel through arch bridge, built in 1961, is the largest of its kind in Europe. Read more about the history and its significance from The Beauty of Transport here. Enjoy!


Let’s do a bridge. It’s easy to like bridges, and it’s easy to see that they can make the world a more beautiful place. That said, some recent bridges have rather let the side down. The best place to see the Medway Viaduct on Britain’s High Speed 1 railway line, for instance, is from the inside of a train. That way, you get the very impressive view without it being spoiled by having to look at the bridge itself, which is crushingly unexciting considering that it’s supposed to be one of the world’s longest high speed rail bridges, and is on the UK’s first high speed line.

Instead, let’s turn our attention to one of Britain’s more overlooked, but nevertheless extremely attractive, bridges. You’ll find it in the rather unlikely surroundings of Runcorn, north-west England, a town whose only other claims to transport fame are its longstanding segregated busway system, and the railway bridge which sits next to the subject of this blog entry.

It’s the Silver Jubilee bridge, carrying the A533 over the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal. Opened in 1961 as simply “Runcorn Bridge” it was renamed in 1977. It has a total length of some 480m, is nearly 90m at its highest point, and is Grade II listed. It was the largest steel arch bridge in Europe when it was constructed, and is an example of a “through arch” bridge.

The Silver Jubilee Bridge at Runcorn. Sourced from, here. © Copyright Galatas and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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