Britannia Bridge Fire

Supplied by

Thomas Holland Roberts

Photo. of me standing on top of the Britannia Bridge taken in 1964 when we were standing-by while railway
engineers were cutting away metal work with oxy-acetylene cutters.

I was on night duty at Bangor fire station on Saturday, 23rd. May 1970. At 9.45pm the direct 'phone line to Fire Control
Caernarfon rang. I was instructed to send two fire engines to the Tubular Bridge, Treborth. Control were uncertain what 
was involved. It was initially assumed that the railway embankment was on fire as steam trains still ran then. 
Well it soon became evident that we had a major incident on our hands. Water supplies at the Tube were non existent although
the Menai Strait ran underneath. There was no footpath down to the Strait and firemen had great difficulty carrying portable 
pumps and hoses down in total darkness. There was absolutely no chance of saving the bridge and the rest is history.

We used to work quite often on the Tube and I remember walking through one Tube and half way through I was shown
a white painted rivet with a brass plaque under it with the words "The last rivet driven home by Robert Stephenson ~ Engineer"
with the date shown. I guess that this plaque would have been destroyed in the fire. A section of the original Tube has been
left near the bridge. 

I found these photo's. of the Tubular Bridge on fire. The photo's show the fire between the two tubes and one taken from inside showing Bangor firemen tackling the blaze in choking fumes.







Here's a photo. I took of one of the four lions which still guards the Britannia Tubular Bridge.

It's a shame that they were not raised to the road level when the bridge was rebuilt!