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Scarning Arch - Death of a railway bridge. Part one of two

Cine film footage of the former railway between Dereham and King's Lynn, taken at Scarning by my grandfather Eric Wright. The first frames shown Walter Wiggett, the crossing keeper opening the gates at Cordy's Crossing (No.39 at 23m 37¼ch) in the 1960s. We then see a train passing over Scarning Arch on the last day of passenger services before scenes taken of demolishing the bridge in the 1970s. The bridge was No.2386 and was described as follows in the bridge register: Brick abutments, cast iron segmental arch, girders and cast iron plate floor with running timbers and open cast iron parapets. 29ft 10in span, 55ft 9in skew, 27ft 3in wide, 21ft 8in high.


The railway passed over the A47 trunk road. The arch was removed first on 11th April 1970, following impact from a lorry. The brick abutments remained in place until removed to make way for the Dereham A47 bypass in 1976. It is quite surprising that such an iconic bridge was so rarely photographed. The ornate cast iron arches were replaced by a very dull concrete bridge. I doubt that many motorists will appreciate what used to exist here as they fly past.


The Health and Safety of the day is quite shocking compared to today's standards with no protective equipment, working at height with no safety gear and dynamiting a bridge with the road beneath still open to traffic!

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Taken on January 15, 2012