Major investment to improve journeys over world-renowned Ribblehead viaduct: Ribblehead viaduct 16x9

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Major investment to improve journeys over world-renowned Ribblehead viaduct

Region & Route:
London North Western
North West Central
London North Eastern & East Midlands

North Yorkshire’s iconic Ribblehead viaduct will undergo important maintenance this summer to secure its future for decades to come.

The 144-year-old viaduct will have its drainage improved and brickwork restored making journeys for passenger and freight trains more reliable on the stunning Settle to Carlisle railway line.

The Great North Rail Project work will start in July and will see an investment of £2.1m in the Grade II listed feat of Victorian engineering.

Ribblehead Viaduct opened in 1876 bridging the gap between Ribblehead and Dent on the exposed and windy Batty Moor.

Work will take place on the viaduct between July and October 2020, when there will be:

  • Brickwork repairs along the structure
  • Removal of vegetation and repairing the damage caused by plants and weeds
  • Upgrades to drainage systems across the viaduct’s 24 arches
  • Repainting of metal and pipework in one universal colour

Marc Vipham, route asset manager for structures at Network Rail, said: “It’s a privilege to look after so many significant buildings and structures across the rail network, but Ribblehead viaduct has got to be one of the crown jewels of Victorian civil engineering.

“We know that the structure is incredibly important both locally and internationally, and we want to give it the care and attention that it deserves so that it can be enjoyed by future generations of both passengers and sightseers.”

Scaffolding will be installed on sections of the 400m viaduct so engineers can safely carry out the vital upgrades.

Network Rail is working closely with Historic England and the Yorkshire Dales National Park to ensure the work is sympathetically carried out in line with guidance for historically significant structures.

Steve Hopkinson, regional director at Northern, said: “The viaduct is iconic and we’re really proud to have such a magnificent piece of engineering on our network.

“It is also a vital  - and much loved – part of the hugely popular Settle - Carlisle Line and the work being carried out will ensure future generations are able to enjoy one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the UK.”

Paul Brown, chairman of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line group, said: "This work has come about as a result of regular inspections of the Ribblehead viaduct.  We work closely with Network Rail and welcome this investment in the line's future. 

“The Ribblehead viaduct was once seen as the route's major weakness.  It is now probably stronger than it was when the Victorians built it.  This work is needed to keep it that way."

Next Tuesday, Ribblehead viaduct will also feature in a new television series called 'The Architecture the Railways Built'.

The full episode will be broadcast on Tuesday 19 May at 8:00pm on Yesterday, via Sky, Freesat, Virgin Media, Freeview or catch-up on UKTV Play.

Meanwhile, no major disruption is expected for passengers using the Settle to Carlisle line during the viaduct's 2020 maintenance.

Passengers are reminded to continue following Government advice regarding public transport during the coronavirus pandemic.

Those who do need to travel are being advised to check www.nationalrail.co.uk or with their train operator ahead of the Ribblehead viaduct work.

Notes to Editors

Ribblehead viaduct key statistics

  • 104 ft. high
  • 402 metres long
  • 24 arches
  • Built between 1870 – 1875
  • Opened on 1st May 1876

Looking after Ribblehead Viaduct

At 400m long, Ribblehead Viaduct’s 24 arches sweep through the Three Peaks region of Yorkshire Dales National Park.

We’re proud to look after such a historic piece of Britain’s railway. Ensuring our Victorian structures remain in safe working order and last for generations to come is a great responsibility.

To do this, we undertake visual exams of the viaduct annually and detailed inspections every six years. We also typically carry out a major renewal every 10 years and any minor works as an when necessary.

Severe weather is one of the challenges we face as custodian of Ribblehead Viaduct, which crosses open land in an exposed position.

For more information on the history of the Settle to Carlisle line click here. 

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Journalists
Network Rail press office - North West & Central Region
0330 854 0100
NWCmediarelations@networkrail.co.uk

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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