Jubilee Bridge

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The Jubilee Bridge , known originally as the Hooghly River Bridge,is an important rail bridge over Hooghly River between Naihati and Hooghly. The bridge was constructed by the East Indian Railway(EIR) and connected to the East Bengal Railway(EBR) enabling freight traffic from upper India to run to the Port of Calcutta, with a charge being paid to EBR for the use of their tracks. [1]

The Bridge was designed by Alexander Meadows Rendel, Consultant Engineer to EIR and Bradford Leslie, the EIR Chief Engineer. The Jubilee Bridge is considered to be the climax of both their bridge-building careers allowing trains to cross the Hooghly River to Calcutta. The construction started in 1882 and was completed in 1887. The Chief Engineer in charge of construction works was Lt Col Arthur John Barry. The Jubilee Bridge was opened on 16 February 1887 in the fiftieth or jubilee year of the reign of Queen Victoria. [2]

The Jubilee Bridge is noteworthy in that it is a cantilever truss bridge, constructed entirely by riveting, without any nuts or bolts used in the construction [2].

The selection of the site of the bridge , design and construction is fully described in an 1888 article in ‘The Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers’ [3]. The bridge was designed for a broad gauge (BG) double tracked railway , the central section 360 ft(110mtr) and the two side-spans are each 420 feet(128mtr) giving a total bridge length of 1200 feet(366mtr) between the side abutments


An on-line search of the India Office Records (IOR) records held at the British Library relating to this railway [4] gives the following:-

  • L/F/8/12/894; "East Indian Railway Company, Contract re Hooghly Bridge"; 6 Aug 1884

It also gives the following:-

  • Z/E/4/25/R754; Rivers, Hooghly, Plans for bridge over at Calcutta, correspondence respecting"; 1854-55

The implication here is that there where earlier proposals to bridge the Hooghly River - these have not been investigated

Personnel involved with design and construction

The plaque made on the occasion of the opening of the Jubilee Bridge is illustrated in “Symphony of Progress" page 22 [5]. It bears the following references:-

"Begun March 1884, Opened February 1887.

In the fiftieth or jubilee year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria


  • Right Honourable Earl of Dufferin - Viceroy and Governor General of India
  • Honorable Sir Augustus Rivers Thompson - Lieutenant Governor of Bengal
  • Sir Theodore Hope - Minister of Public Works
  • R W Crawford - Chairman of the East Indian Railway Company
  • General Design by Bradford Leslie and A M Rendel
  • Design of Piers & Abutments by Bradford Leslie, Superstructure by A M Rendel
  • Chief Engineer in India - Bradford Leslie
  • Resident Engineers - F A Graf, A J Barry
  • Assistant Engineers - Jones, Wagstaff, Montgomerie, Leslie Jr.
  • Consulting Engineers to Government - Col R De Bourbel R.E., Col Charles Henry Luard R.E."


  1. “Symphony of Progress - The Saga of the Eastern Railway 1854-2003”; published by Eastern Railway, 2003; page 30
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Wikipedia "Jubilee Bridge India”; Retrieved 23 Apr 2016
  3. ‘Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Volume 92 Issue 1888, pp. 73-96 ‘The erection of the Jubilee Bridge .... by Sir Bradford Leslie; Retrieved on 15 Nov 2020
  4. “British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue” - Search; Retrieved 23 Apr 2016
  5. “Symphony of Progress - The Saga of the Eastern Railway 1854-2003”; published by Eastern Railway, 2003; page 220