BCDR Bridge Wagons

At a glance:

Builder:Belfast & County Down Railway (Queen's Quay Works)
Build date:1928
Original company:Belfast & County Down Railway
Withdrawal date:1980
Final company:Northern Ireland Railways
Arrived at DCDR:1990
Current status:Stored
Current owner:DCDR

This trio of trucks are known as ‘bridge wagons’, so-called because they were used to transport bridge girders from a loading point to the required site. Though in some cases a girder would be short enough to fit on a conventional bogied flat-bed wagon, longer girders had to travel on bridge wagons. These have a pivoting steel beam in the middle of their flat beds upon which long loads can sit, and by straddling multiple bridge wagons this would enable them to navigate the twists and bends of the railway they were travelling on.

Our examples were built by the Belfast and County Down Railway in their workshops at Queen’s Quay in 1928. The following year they were used to transport the girders used in the new Quoile Bridge on the mainline from Belfast to Downpatrick – the one in the same spot as our very own Quoile Bridge today, which is designed to match the original as closely as possible.

Although the history of the bridge wagons gets somewhat hazy after this, they had wound up in Antrim by the 1980s. We acquired them in 1990, at the same time as we were retrieving the water tower from Antrim station. They are currently stored off-track awaiting restoration, and are unique examples of an extremely rare set of vehicles.