Two Fortieth Anniversaries

Today is the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Severn Bridge, which was for its first 30 years the main route between South Wales and England. Much of the traffic now goes over the second Severn Crossing, but the first one retains its iconic status. For a while it was the biggest single span suspension bridge in the world, and for anyone growing up in South Wales it was special. Well, maybe that’s just me. The way I always liked to see it was from the railway line, oddly enough. If your train takes you from Cardiff up to Gloucester on your way to Birmingham and more northerly places, the line runs along the Severn, and you can see the bridge in all its glory before passing under it.

It was always a pleasing sight, but when it was repainted in gleaming white, it became really quite beautiful. The second Severn Crossing, while a fine piece of engineering, lacks the grace and elegance of its older companion, somehow. It’s a bridge, but it’s not the bridge.

And the other anniversary? Well, 40 years ago today was the first showing in the US of a little TV show called Star Trek.