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Tower Bridge Operations Manual


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1 - Build us a bridge! * Victorian London - confident and thriving * Toil, glitter, grime and wealth on a flowing tide * London's traffic problems * The bodies responsible for London's bridges * Demand grows for a new river crossing east of London Bridge * Possible solutions * From the ridiculous to the sublime - proposals considered by the Special Bridge or Subway Committee, June 1876-December 1878 * The Metropolitan Board of Works weighs in o The material to be used o The preferred location for the bridge o The preferred type of bridge * A clash of Titans * Horace Jones' initial specification and outline design 2 - Tangible progress * The impact of the Tay Bridge disaster * The last throw of the dice for Sir Joseph Bazalgette * 1884 - decision time! * The detailed design phase * The laying of the memorial stone * The bridge as built * Ten bridges in one * Now twelve! 3 - A bridge is born * The method of contracting * The individual contracts * The tendering process * Contract No. 1 * Project management * Construction of the piers * Construction of the superstructure * Actual timescale and cost * The grand opening * The first year of operation * Personnel 4 - The suspension bridges * Sources * Overview * The northern approach, a masonry arch viaduct o Preparation o The site o Contract No. 2 o Accommodation beneath the arches of the viaduct o The northern abutment o Metrics * The southern approach, also a masonry arch viaduct o The site o Contract No. 4 o Accommodation beneath the arches of the viaduct * The piers and their foundations * The main towers * The main chains and the suspended roadway of the shore spans o Main chains o The suspended roadway o Stiffening girders * The abutment towers * The high-level ties * The anchor ties and anchor girders * The external masonry * The forces in the structure 5 - The bascule bridges * One bridge or two? * The bascule principle * The second largest Meccano set in the world * The steel girder bridges spanning the bascule chambers o The fixed girders o The cantilevers providing support under the main bearings of the moving leaf o The triangular box girders o The roadway o Recent changes to the roadway construction over the bascule chambers * A simple force diagram of a bascule * Bascule design * Quadrants and racks * Pinion shafts, pinion shaft bearings and pinions * Pivot shafts and main bearings * Roadway construction * Bascule buffers * Pawls * Resting blocks * Nose bolts 6 - Bascule bridge operating technology * The overriding principle of the design * Steam plant - boilers and steam-operated hydraulic pump sets * Hydraulic accumulators * Pressurised water distribution * Hydraulic engines * Bridge control * Hydraulic lifts * Fire, domestic water and bilge hydraulic pumps 7 - The high-level bridges * The high-level footbridges o Overview o The cantilevered footway sections o The simply supported central footway sections o Roofing and ornamentation o Method of construction o High-level tie support o Forces in the structure * The high-level tie suspension bridges o Design o Cable clamps, suspenders and carriers 8 - The men who built the bridge * Introduction * Sir John Wolfe Barry * Sir John Jackson * William Webster * Sir William Arrol * Sir Herbert Henry Bartlett * Baron Armstrong of Cragside * Common threads * Sir Horace Jones 9 - Bridge maintenance * Acknowledgement * Description of the major works since the opening of the bridge * Stewardship of the bridge * Areas for study and possible attention o Monitoring and maintaining the condition of the steelwork o Maintaining the balance of the bridge o The Thames Tideway Tunnel * The next 125 years Appendix 1 - Suspension bridge force analysis * Objective * Method * Assumptions * The geometry of the two suspension bridges * Calculated weights * Force analysis of the Middlesex suspension bridge * Force analysis of the Surrey suspension bridge * Health warning Appendix 2 - Availability estimate for the bridge as built Appendix 3 - Unit conversions Bibliography and sources Index

Promotional Information

* The fascinating story of the design, construction and operation of this London icon. * Tower Bridge is a masterpiece of Victorian engineering. * 30 June 2019 is the 125th anniversary of the opening of Tower Bridge in 1894. * Fully illustrated with archive photographs and technical illustrations, and modern colour.

About the Author

John M Smith BSc (Hons) MSc FIET FBCS CITP CEng is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in mechanical and electrical engineering. He is published regularly in the model engineering press and lives in Berkshire.

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