Pont Betws Garmon
|Pont Betws Garmon|
The original bridge, since replaced, looking back towards the station in April 1960.
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Very shortly after passing the remains of Bettws Garmon station, Pont Betws Garmon (also known as the Afon Gwyrfai Bridge) carries the Welsh Highland Railway over the Afon Gwyrfai for the second time. Pre-revival, this had been a standard humpback girder bridge 15 metres long. On November 2nd, 2000, this was removed to Dinas. Under construction this was known as UB51; operationally it is now known as UB31.59 using the standard nomenclature now in use.
This is the infamous bridge that once carried the slogan 'Wot no railway?'.
Although it was intended and originally costed to be replaced on a like-for-like basis, when opened for tender, the cost had increased by around 60%. An alternative was sought, and rail girders were found near Sheffield, which enabled a massive saving on cost. Prior to delivery, two local firms cut, welded, and cleaned the beams into the correct shape. The new design for the bridge was done by John Sreeves, one of the many volunteers on the job.
The change from the original design was further prompted by the Environment Agency requiring a larger span to improve the flow of the river.
It was also decided to raise the trackbed higher on this section, to remove the possibility of flooding.
Rock armour and rock cladding was added to the abutments in order to prevent scouring by floodwater, and improve the look.
The actual bridge structure was first assembled on land between the river and the station; it was set up on wooden sleepers, aligned by laser and drawn together with temporary bolts. Final protective epoxy coating was applied towards the end of May, and the actual positioning on the replacement abutments took place on 5th June.