Vicars Bridge, so called because the route leads to a vicarage, is facing demolition.
The much delayed removal of the bridge is finally going ahead this weekend I am told. Network Rail, who own the land will remove the rusty old structure enabling the completion of the footpath/cycle path linking Penwortham and Avenham/Miller Parks with the Fishergate Centre car park and Preston railway station. This will provide access to the wider National Cycle Network.
Although it is almost 40 years since a train past under it, amazingly, the original 1848 bridge still remains. But not for long.
The former railway line that passed under the bridge was constructed in 1848 to provide access to Preston Station and formed part of the Bamber Bridge to Preston extension of the East Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. The railway was dismantled in the 1960’s.
Due to decay over the years in the 1950s Royal Engineers constructed a Bailey bridge on the top of the old bridge as a ‘temporary’ measure. This is the noticeably bouncy, wobbly structure still in use today.
Now the original Victorian and Bailey bridges, which lasted far longer than was ever intended, will be replaced with a new structure. Another bit of old Preston gone forever.