Monday 15 Feb 2021
Progress at Ribblehead as plans submitted for extra viaduct repairs
Specialists restoring one of the country’s most treasured railway structures have found it needs some extra TLC to secure its future for passengers and tourists.
Today, (Monday 15 February) Network Rail has released progress pictures of work taking place as part of a £2.1m investment into Ribblehead viaduct.
Stone blockwork and drainage is being upgraded on the historic structure, which carries the picturesque Settle to Carlisle railway 400 metres across the Ribble valley in Yorkshire.
Detailed laser and drone surveys have mapped every inch of the Grade II* listed viaduct for the first time, and huge scaffolding towers have been built for the repairs to take place.
This has given rare access for a much closer inspection of the 144-year-old railway link's condition.
While the expected repairs have been progressing well, further minor faults in the masonry have been found which need fixing.
Some of the blockwork on the viaduct’s supports is cracked. When water gets inside and freezes in cold weather it turns to ice and expands, making the damage worse.
Plans have been submitted to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to carry out the extra repairs to the newly found cracks as soon as possible as part of this same project.
Marc Vipham, route asset manager for structures at Network Rail, said: “Being up close restoring Ribblehead viaduct for several months now, we have found deeper issues that need attention to protect this amazing feat of Victorian engineering for the future.
“As with any heritage project of this kind, when plans need to change it is standard procedure to submit further planning applications to adapt our work. Carrying out these extra repairs now, when the experts are in place and the scaffolding is already up, will save a huge amount of taxpayers’ money and stop us needing to come back all over again.
“We’re continuing to work closely with heritage experts and conservationists at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority so we’re all on the same page as to how we can best restore this much-loved structure for generations to come.”
Ribblehead Viaduct opened in 1876 bridging the gap between Ribblehead and Dent on the exposed and windy Batty Moss.
Photographs released today show the work currently taking place, which includes:
- Stone blockwork 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
As Ribblehead Viaduct is a Grade II listed structure, Network Rail is working closely with Historic England and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to ensure the work is sympathetically carried out in line with guidance for historically significant structures.
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.
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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.
Usually, there are almost five 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.