14 May 2008

Shakey Bridge


Work has started on Weston Mill viaduct, to renew its 109-year-old structure. Network Rail is investing £4 million on the nine-month project, which will improve the condition of the viaduct, also known as the 'Shakey Bridge'. Repairs will be made to the steelwork and brickwork to strengthen its structure and extend its life for another 50 years, and the bridge over the viaduct will also be repainted to protect it from corrosion. At 46 feet high and 1,200 feet long, the Weston Mill viaduct was a replacement for an all-timber structure that was originally designed by Brunel.


I do hope that this refit will include the reinstatement of the footpath that runs alongside the railbridge. It used to save a long detour around Camels Head and was also a good fun experience when a train came across - hence the name Shakey bridge.

I have fond memories of racing buses along this path. You had the challenge of getting off a bus at HMS Drake and then racing it to the other side of the bridge at St Budeaux! In those days Camels Head was a major bottleneck where two lanes of traffic merged into one. It was a tall order if traffic wasn't too bad though, and the conductor would often wave at you as he went passed if you didn't quite make it to the bus stop!  Occasionally though traffic was so bad that you could get off one number 6 or 7, run across the bridge, and end up catching the previous 6 or 7 supposedly 15 minutes down the road!

Happy times, especially as the buses were Bristol FLFs!


  1. Used to fish off shakey bridge. Some memories there Graham. Always remember you had a job to ride your bike across as there was a large steep step at each end where you had to dismount and lift your bike up. The path was not straight either as it curved out around the pillars.

  2. Cycling was always great fun along this path for this very reason - When I had a tougher bike I used to have fun cycling off the end of the bridge section and down the large step - occasionally falling off in the process. It was the steep steps at the Drake end which were really annoying!

  3. Used to hang out underneath it when I was a kid


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