An £171,000 project to allow the old gas lamps on the High Level Bridge to be run using electric current was marked with an official "switch on" last night (Thursday 29 May).
Funded by the Railway Heritage Trust, Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council and Network Rail the lamps were brought into modern service as part of the £40million project to restore the bridge.
Jim Cornell, Executive Director, Railway Heritage Trust said: "The High Level Bridge, built by Robert Stephenson and opened by Queen Victoria on 15th April 1849, is one of the United Kingdom’s most historic railway structures. Its imaginative yet challenging design solution has ensured that it has survived as the oldest remaining bridge spanning the Tyne between Newcastle and Gateshead. The Railway Heritage Trust was delighted to have been able to award a grant towards the cost of restoration of the original gas lamp standards and fittings which, although now electrically powered, preserve the authenticity of the initial design and were such an important feature when the bridge first opened."
The wider project completed in May and is being marked by an open day on the bridge from 11am to 4pm on Friday 30 May. Members of the engineering teams from May Gurney, the main contractor on the project, will be available to talk interested members of the public through the restoration project. There will also be static displays showing the progression of the work.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain’s railway – the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts, and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.6bn journeys by rail every year - double the number of 1996 - and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We’re investing £38bn in the railway by 2019 to deliver more frequent, more reliable, safer services and brighter and better stations.