Project profile: Christow Station Railway Bridge

A well-known local landmark, Christow Station Railway Bridge sits in the small village of Doddiscombsleigh, Devon. Constructed over 100 years ago using yellow glazed bricks, this unusual bridge received some much-needed repairs in autumn 2022.

Project profile: Christow Station Railway Bridge

Location: Doddiscombsleigh (formerly known as Doddescombe Leigh) is a small settlement in Devon.

Contractor: Hammond (ECS) Ltd

Status: Emergency repairs are complete


Christow Station Railway Bridge formed part of the Teign Valley branch railway that was built in two halves by two companies, with 21 years separating the completion of the first half from the second. The bridge signified the end of the line until it became the Exeter, Teign Valley and Chagford railway, formed to join up with the existing line at Christow Station.

The line from Heathfield, situated on the Moretonhampstead Branch, to Teign House Siding was built by the Teign Valley Railway and opened in 1882. It followed the river valley for most of its length. The section from Christow was extended out for the loading of stone (known as Teign House Siding), joining with the Great Western main line near St Thomas, in Exeter, was completed in 1903.

Flooding caused the line to be closed entirely between Christow and Exeter in 1961, with the gradual withdrawal of freight seeing the line finally close in 1967.

The Exeter & Teign Valley Railway, formed in 1995, occupies part of the goods yard of the disused Christow Station. The railway is occasionally opened to the public during the summer and can be opened by arrangement on other days for special events.

The village of Doddiscombsleigh stands along a local popular walking route known as the 'Boxing Day Walk’ from the Nobody Inn pub to Manor Inn, totalling 4.5 miles in an estimated two hours.

About the structure

The bridge is a single span brick arch, measuring 7.9m. The arch itself is made up of five courses of bricks, 600mm in thickness.

Built around 1882, Christow Bridge is very special, as unlike most HRE bridges it’s made from yellow stone.

What is the project?

Our structures are inspected yearly by a team of skilled engineers, which helps us to plan work well in advance and ensure that the most critical tasks are prioritised.

Christow Bridge needed extensive brickwork and re-pointing repairs to make sure it remained safe and in good condition for the future.

Work couldn’t begin until our contractor Hammond (ecs) Ltd was able to track down copies of the unusual yellow bricks that were used when it was built. Most HRE brick bridges are constructed in a traditional red or blue brick, but the yellow brick used for Christow Bridge gives it a distinctive look.

Our team sourced 1,500 common red bricks, as well as 1,500 rarer Victorian yellow bricks. They were supplied by specialist brick manufacturers Furness Brick and Tile Company Ltd and needed to go through a process to make them look weathered to ensure they match the original bricks.

We worked with our contractors to source like-for-like materials, in many cases re-using dressed stone. This work was completed in November 2022.

In October 2023, we were contacted by the local community who advised that the bridge had been struck by a vehicle. The impact of the collision resulted in significant damaged to the brick parapets. Emergency repairs were necessary to prevent any other vehicles potentially driving through the weakened parapet. Bridge strikes happen regularly on our structures.

Damaged brickwork caused by vehicle strike

(Damaged brickwork caused by vehicle strike)

What stage is it at?

Emergency repairs are complete.

"I’ve been sourcing the bricks for the historical structures in the HRE for 16 years and it always gives me great pleasure when we get a good match and maintenance work can be carried out while keeping to the original Victorian design."
John Martin, Framework manager for HRE contractor Hammond (ecs) Ltd

Image gallery

Use the arrows to browse through the image gallery of Christow Station Railway Bridge.

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Christow Station Railway Bridge used to signify the end of the Teign Valley line
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The bridge has unusual yellow bricks that were sourced specially
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Scaffolding was up for seven weeks so work could be completed safely and carefully
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Unusual glazed yellow bricks needed to be found before work could start
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Christow Station Railway Bridge after completion