Almost three years ago, I mentioned that the High Level Bridge was being restored, and I referred to the fact that the job turned out to be a bigger one than first expected. Well, for a long time, quite apart from being closed, the whole bridge was covered in white sheets, so it was impossible to tell what was going on. But the sheeting has been removed and now we can see the bridge in its lovely new paint job. For the last few decades at least, the metalwork was painted in dingy grey. It did nothing at all to highlight the elegance of Stephenson’s design and combined with the general lack of repairs, made the bridge look quite dreadful.
Old paintings suggest that when it was new, the bridge was painted in a much lighter colour – something like the one that English Heritage insisted on for the restoration, and now it’s revealed, it’s quite clear that this should have been done a long time ago. In fact, I vaguely recall reading of an earlier plan to restore the bridge, which would have included a colour described at the time as “stone”. I don’t recall what happened to that plan.
As I only had the one lens with me, I could only take detail shots like this one, but I’ll go back soon with the wide-angle lens and try to capture more of this great old bridge, which has finally been revealed as worthy of its place not just as an engineering marvel of its time, but as a thing of beauty.
 I did see one or two people claiming that no work was really going on, conspiracy, etc..
 For those not familiar with it, the High Level Bridge is a double-decker job – rail lines run on top, with the road contained in a “tunnel in the sky”, as it was called by some at the time it was proposed. It was the first crossing of the Tyne at Newcastle that didn’t require a steep climb in and out of the Tyne Gorge, and before it was built, the railway stopped at Gateshead, what with trains not being all that good at really steep hills…