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The Skew Bridge – Engineering Brilliance Ahead of Its Time

A feature of Rainhill village is George Stephenson’s "Skew Bridge", a sandstone construction, that takes the main road over the railway.

It takes its name from the unusual diagonal angle at which the railway passes under the bridge and is the world's first bridge to go over a railway at an angle. The bridge was later widened to accommodate increases in road traffic.

The Skew Bridge, a Grade II listed structure, is the most acute of 15 such bridges on the line, built at an angle of 34 degrees to the railway.

Work on construction began towards the edge of 1828. A full-size model was set up in an adjacent field and stone blocks, some weighing over two tons, were cut, dressed and numbered in advance, each being individually shaped to fit its exact position.

The bridge was then constructed and the Warrington to Prescot Turnpike (now the A57), raised by inclined embankments, to pass over it. An inscription carved below the parapet on the eastern side, records the date of completion, June 1829.

Have you seen? Check out Skew Bridge in the Virtual Museum.

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