Iconic 16-arch Scottish viaduct given new life

A historic 16 arch Scottish viaduct has been given a £2m makeover by the National Highways’ Historical Railways Estate (HRE).

The 1850s Westfield Viaduct, near the village of Westfield, straddles the River Avon on the West Lothian and Falkirk border.

The structure features 12 large 47ft span arches and two small ones at each end. It stretches 660ft over land and water and stands 60ft from the top of the arch to the riverbed.

Westfield Viaduct restoration opens possibilities for its future

HRE civil engineer Colin McNicol said: “We are delighted to be breathing life back into this physical reminder of an important part of railway history in central Scotland and we’re very pleased with how well the work has gone.

“The viaduct had numerous issues that needed attention to ensure it remained safe and in good order. The work that has been completed makes any future plans to reopen the viaduct as an active travel route for pedestrian, cyclist and other users a real possibility.”

Scottish viaduct
Masonry repairs to the arch soffit from cradles and by abseilers on the voussoirs (Image: HRE)

Restoration took place over an 18-month period. It included repairs to all 16 spans, the north and south parapet, and waterproofing work.

New cast iron pattress plates have been produced to match the originals, and stone repairs were colour matched to the original unweathered material.

Scottish viaduct
New voussoir stones and cast iron pattress plates cast to precisely match the originals (Image: HRE)
Original voussoir stones and pattress plates (Image: HRE)
Water damage

Repairs to the voussoir stones in one span were unusual due to the scale of the water-damaged material that had to be removed and replaced.

As part of the project, 19 bat bricks were installed along with six bat tubes and two bat boxes. Other work included extensive vegetation clearance.

Westfield Viaduct is one of 3,100 former railway structures maintained by HRE on behalf of the Department for Transport. It was built between 1854 and 1855 as an extension to the Monkland Railway.

View of the deck after vegetation had been cleared away (Image: HRE)

The project follows the renovation of a rare Victorian footbridge crossing the River Teviot near Roxburgh and the announcement of a three-month renovation programme at the listed Boleside footbridge near Galashiels.

Scottish viaduct
View of the 60ft high viaduct from the ground (Image: HRE)
Story for CM? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News