Almost the border, but not quite

The Royal Border Bridge in Berwick-upon-Tweed is a Grade I listed railway viaduct,  opened by Queen Victoria in 1850. Despite its descriptive name, it does not span the border between England and Scotland: it runs about 3 miles too far south.

Royal Border Bridge, Berwick-upon-Tweed, April 2019

 It is an impressive piece of architecture, designed by Robert Stephenson for the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway. Its measurements are impressive too: 28 arches, 15 over land and 13 over river; each arch spans 18 m; total of 659 metres in length; rails are 37 m above river level; 227,000 m3 of stone; 2.5 million bricks; 2,700 builders.

For all its age and glamour, it is still in operation, as part of the East Coast Main Line. In fact, I trundled across it today en route from Edinburgh to London. It gives great views of the River Tweed and Berwick’s other bridges.

Being a Grade 1 listed structure, it is well protected and cared for. In 1989, upgrade was required as part of the electrification programme, and its overhead line infrastructure was carefully designed for reduced visual impact and approved by the Royal Fine Art Commission.

It underwent repairs between 1993 and 1996, and it had a coloured lighting system added in 2016 to flaunt its stature at night.

View from Berwick castle ruins



Copyright Debbie Smyth, 23 April 2019

Posted as part of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

17 thoughts on “Almost the border, but not quite

  1. Now a Berwick (or at least Spittal) resident, I’m often drawn back to photograph this bridge in different combinations of weather, tide and light. You’ve caught an atmospheric selection of views in your one short visit.


    1. Love haven’t seen the Clifton for many years. But a few days in Bristol is on my list for this year!
      I thoroughly recommend Berwick – several great bridges. I was only there for a couple of hours and the sun was in my way on many shots. I’m planning to return for a night stay some time.


  2. I like the implication that this bridge is a many-mile long, very tall work of art! Of course it’s reminiscent of Roman bridges and aqueducts with the classical series of arches and brickwork. THanks for a ver beautiful photos!

    best… mae at

    Liked by 1 person

  3. oh I bet the lights at night are awesome – and the day shots show its beauty.
    I am looking forward to watching Season 3 of Victoria (hopefully soon) and this post will come to mind….

    safe travels Deb


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