Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s historic Royal Albert Bridge, which takes the railway over the River Tamar between Plymouth and Saltash, joining Devon with Cornwall, has been illuminated in blue as a show of support to the NHS.
The twin spans, each 455 feet long (139 meters), and their piers were lit from 20:00 on Thursday 16 April 2020 as part of the nation’s appreciation for the NHS and other key workers.
The Network Rail-owned bridge, which carries the only railway line connecting the south west with the rest of the country, was lit up from both the Devon and Cornish side of the bridge.
The iconic bridge, which first opened in 1859, was illuminated from both the Devon and Cornwall sides of the river. Plymouth City Council lit up the Devon side of the bridge from the shore while the Cornish side of the bridge was lit from Ashtorre Rock community centre which allowed the lights to be set up from its building.
The neighbouring Tamar bridge, which carries road traffic between Devon and Cornwall, was illuminated by the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee.
Network Rail’s Western route director Mike Gallop said: “We are really proud of everyone from the NHS and the huge effort they are putting in daily to save lives.
“It has been great to come together and shine a light on one of the railway’s most famous landmarks in recognition of the NHS.
“We hope to light up the Royal Albert Bridge again in the future when the wider community will be able to leave their homes and see it for themselves.”
Richard Bickford, who represents Saltash East on Saltash Town Council, said: “Many thanks to Ashtorre Rock for allowing the use of the building during this time.
“Their location provides a safe place with power to set-up the floodlights and celebrate the work that the NHS is doing.”
Network Rail has illuminated a number of iconic buildings and structures in blue to honour the work of NHS frontline staff and other key workers during the Coronavirus (COVIS-19) epidemic.