Rewley Road Railway Swing Bridge
Revival, protection, promotion and education – some of OPT’s key strengths and illustrated brilliantly in the case of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) swing bridge. And who else is going to save this but OPT?
Sitting in an ‘open’ position on either side of the Sheepwash Channel, fenced off from the towpath for safety, the LMS Swing Bridge is one of only two moving bridges on the Thames - the other being Tower Bridge in London. Now rusting away and seemingly forgotten, it is the final relic of the now absent second railway line in Oxford.
This Scheduled Monument has a big story to tell, and one that is easy to overlook at first glance. This is a tale not just of the railways coming to Oxford, but of the part Oxford played in railways across England - of Robert Stephenson and Isambard Brunel, the battle for east-west and north-south, and of the ‘Great Exhibition’ of 1851.
Read more about this fascinating monument:
- An epic battle: Oxford’s railway history
- Celebrating Oxford’s industrial past: the history of the LMS Swing Bridge
What next for the LMS Swing Bridge?
Ownership of the Swing Bridge has now passed to OPT and contractors have been on site since November 2020 to begin the restoration process. The Scheduled Monument is in a very poor state of repair and is included on Historic England's 'Heritage at Risk' Register 2020. It is important not to lose this rare survival of Oxford’s industrial heritage and the story it has to tell. Following enabling works in March 2019, which saw the bridge turned onto the bank and away from the stream, OPT has been working hard to raise the money needed to save it.
This project would not be possible without the support of our partners Historic England, Railway Heritage Trust, Network Rail, Chiltern Railways, CPRE Oxfordshire and Oxford City Council. Thanks also go to the Morton Partnership, Blake Morgan and Avon Construction.
Click here to watch a video from the Huntley Archive of the Swing Bridge in operation in the 1970s.
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