Havelock Railway Bridge over the Godavari river in Andhra - its strategic location still plays a crucial role!!

Colonial Havelock Bridge, Andhra.telegraphindia.com

The Havelock Bridge, also known as the Godavari Old Bridge, is an iconic structure spanning the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh, India. This bridge was an integral part of the broad gauge East Coast State Railway mainline connecting Howrah and Madras (now Chennai) during the colonial period. It played a crucial role during the World Wars, serving as a lifeline for British forces moving towards the eastern corridor, including Dhaka, Burma, and Indonesia.

The construction of the bridge commenced on November 11, 1897, and it was opened for traffic on August 30, 1900. The bridge was designed using stone masonry and steel girders, featuring 56 spans, each 45.7 meters (150 feet) long, totaling an impressive length of 3,480 meters (11,420 feet). The project was overseen by Francis Joseph Edward Spring, who served as the consulting engineer to the Government of India. The Engineer-in-Chief was Frederick Thomas Granville Walton, assisted by executive engineers R.A. Delanougerede, F.D. Couchman, and J.E. Eaglesome.

Gov. of Madras Presidency, Sir Arthur Havelock en.wikipedia.org,

Above image: Sir Arthur Elibank Havelock, GCIE (7 May 1844 - 25 June 1908), was a prominent British colonial governor, serving in various capacities across multiple colonies. Born in Bath, Somerset, he was the fifth surviving son of Lieut.- Col.William Havelock and Caroline Elizabeth Chaplin and nephew of Sir Henry Havelock. The family moved to India in 1844, but after his father's death at the Battle of Ramnagar in 1848, they settled in Ootacamund. Havelock attended school there before completing his education in London and military training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in 1860.

Havelock Bridge (Godavari Old Bridge) wiki.fibis.org

Havelock's colonial career began in 1874, and he held various posts before becoming a governor in 1881. He served as Governor of Sierra Leone, Natal, Madras, Ceylon from 1890 to 1895, and Tasmania from 1901 to 1904. After retiring, he lived in Torquay, Devon, and died in Bath, Somerset, on 25 June1908.He was survived by a daughter.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Havelock

Named after Sir Arthur Elibank Havelock, the then Governor of Madras, (1896 to 1900), the Havelock Bridge was a testament to the engineering prowess of the time. In 1901, the southern section of the East Coast State Railway, including the Havelock Bridge, was transferred to the Madras Railway, later renamed the Madras (North-East) Railway. By 1908, it became part of the Madras-Waltair NE Mainline of the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway.

The bridge underwent significant maintenance in 1946, with a complete re-flooring that replaced the wooden longitudinal and sleepers with a steel system, ensuring its continued utility and safety. Despite its robust construction and historical importance, the bridge was decommissioned in 1997, making way for the modern Godavari Arch Bridge. South Central railway  converted the vintage bridge into a historical  monument and in Dec, 2016  Rs.8 crore was sanctioned by the state  for beautification, etc. The SC Railway, Secunderabad, handrd over the 120-year-old decommissioned bridge and 1085.59 sq. yards of land adjacent to it in Rajamahendravaram to Andhra Pradesh in exchange of 2583.33 sq. yards of land offered by the State government. It is the first incidence in the Railways history to have officially handed over the bridge to the state government for converting it into a monument.

The Havelock Bridge, often referred to in historical records as the Godavari Old Bridge or the Godavari Bridge, remains a significant piece of India's railway heritage. Its construction not only facilitated vital connections and military movements during critical periods but also showcased the engineering capabilities of its era. Though no longer in service, the bridge is remembered for its pivotal role in the development of the region's railway network and its contribution to India's historical infrastructure.