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The church is in St John's Vale near the junction with Lewisham Way/Loampit Hill (A20). St John's station is two minutes walk down St John's Vale.

(My secondary school was a further 5mins walk away in Ashmead Road and backed onto the railway between St John's and New Cross stations - great for trainspotting! I'd been there in the first year since Sept '57. The day of the crash we were sent home an hour early because of the fog's density.)

There is a book "St. John's Lewisham - 50 years on - Restoring the traffic" written by Peter Taplow, and recently published by Oakwood Press (Series X87, ISBN 978 0 85361 669 6). Despite the last part of the title, the book still deals very much with the actual crash, the latter half being the story of how the lines were cleared and services restored. At the back of the book is a fold-out plan of all the tracks and signals in the Lewisham area. Warmly recommended reading.

Regards,
John
 

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It is correct that 'military trestles' were used to help reconstruct the bridge, but the Royal Engineers involvement was limited to helping with the supply of such items and ancillary bits and pieces from the then-operating Longmoor Military Railway. The design and erection of the replacement bridge was otherwise the work of the Southern Region civil engineers and their staff. The trestles were erected by the 17th of December (on concrete foundations that could only be made from the 11th of December after all the debris had been removed from site) and the beams across the trestles to support the track and decking of the Nunhead-Lewisham line were in place by the 30th of December. Track was then laid and the complete bridge tested on the 12th of January by simultaneously running two N class steam locos across it.

There were plans to rebuild the bridge permanently, but in the end following certain modifications at the time of the reordering of the tracks to form the present 'flyover' to take Charing Cross trains over to the up fast line etc, it was decided to retain the bridge.

(All the above information from "St John's Lewisham - 50 years on" mentioned in my first post above. In addition in photos on pages 89, 92, 111, 113, and 114 the spire of St. John's church is to be seen a short distance away)

I can't imagine Network Rail moving so fast these days should something similar happen!
Regards,
John Webb
 
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