Multi-million pound upgrade to historic Shoreham Viaduct, Sussex, to be completed at Christmas: Shoreham Viaduct

Wednesday 6 Dec 2017

Multi-million pound upgrade to historic Shoreham Viaduct, Sussex, to be completed at Christmas

South East

A major project to refurbish a historic railway viaduct over the River Adur in Shoreham is close to completion after more than a year’s work by Network Rail engineers.

The 16-span, 360m-long Shoreham Viaduct was built in 1892 to replace the original timber trestle structure and is one of the UK’s earliest steel structures. It has now been strengthened, repaired and repainted as part of a £9.5m investment by Network Rail and a team of expert contractors, with special care paid to the unique estuary environment, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The work means that the viaduct will be able to carry all modern trains, including freight, while the new green and cream paint – designed to complement the local area – will protect the structure’s metalwork from the salt spray of the Adur estuary for at least 25 years.

Network Rail’s head of structures in the South East, Mark Huband, said: “With record numbers of people choosing to travel by train in the South East, it’s vital we continue to invest in the many hundreds of Victorian bridges, tunnels, viaducts and other structures which form key parts of our modern network.

“We hope our work at Shoreham Viaduct demonstrates that we take seriously our responsibility to maintain and preserve these historic structures, not just for the safe and efficient operation of the railway, but also how they look for the local community, those travelling on the railway or visitors to the area.

“It gives you great respect for those who built this structure more than a century ago and we hope that our work on their bridge does justice to their legacy.”

The redundant gas main on the south side of the structure has also been removed as part of the project, paid for by Southern Gas Network, and soon the structure will be revealed without the gas main for the first time since the early 1930s.

The works at Shoreham Viaduct are due to be completed at Christmas and will ensure that this important structure has many more years of serviceable life ahead.

Its location in the Adur means it has required regular maintenance over the years, most recently in 2004. In addition, during World War II, Shoreham viaduct was damaged by bombs on at least three occasions.

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Network Rail press office - Carl Ferguson
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Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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