Harringworth Viaduct

Coordinates: 52°34′1.00″N 0°39′14.00″W / 52.56694°N 0.65389°W / 52.56694; -0.65389

Welland Viaduct, also known as Harringworth Viaduct and Seaton Viaduct, is a railway viaduct which crosses the valley of the River Welland between Harringworth in Northamptonshire and Seaton in Rutland, England. It is 1,275 yards (1.166 km) long and has 82 arches, each of which has a 40 feet (12 m) span. It was completed in around 1878, and is the longest masonry viaduct across a valley in Britain.

Welland Viaduct lies on the Oakham to Kettering Line and carries the twin track non-electrified line between Corby and Manton Junction, where it joins the Leicester to Peterborough line. The route is generally used for the passage of freight trains and steam train outings. In early 2009 a single daily passenger service was introduced by East Midlands Trains between Melton Mowbray and St. Pancras via Corby. This is the first regular daily passenger service to operate across the viaduct since the 1960s. The viaduct is also used as a diversionary route for East Midlands Trains mainline services using the Midland Main Line route. The line and structure are a favourite with steam train and heritage enthusiasts, carrying a Grade II Listed Structure status and dominating this picturesque rural valley.

Due to the structure’s size, age, exposure and inaccessibility, the original brickwork was suffering from extensive weathering and structural deterioration. As part of the Network Rail Structures maintenance programme, Birse Rail was remitted to carry out structural repairs to the viaduct. Traditional methods and materials were employed alongside modern access techniques to return the structure to its former glory and to ensure the long-term structural integrity of the viaduct as well as the enjoyment of generations to come.

The viaduct was origially built from bricks manufactured and fired onsite which had a red face. Repairs have employed other types of bricks, predominanantly Blue engineering bricks which have much better water resistance and are much stronger than commons making them excellent for tunnel and arch re-lining and face brick replacement, leaving a patchwork appearance. Before the extensive privaitisation of British Rail repairs where regularly made to the structure by the Kettering and Leicester civil engineering staff. Many of the older bricklayers reported having seen childrens hand and footprints embossed into the bricks where they had walked around and on the clay filled moulds before fireing in the kiln.

This line is now open again, Midland MainLine Train, Derby to London route.


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