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Railway Viaducts over South Esk River, Montrose

Description: Railway Viaducts over South Esk River

Category: B
Date Listed: 8 June 2004
Historic Scotland Building ID: 49864

OS Grid Coordinates: 370690, 756619
Latitude/Longitude: 56.7004, -2.4802

Location: A92, Ferryden, Angus DD10 9RA

Locality: Montrose
County: Angus
Country: Scotland
Postcode: DD10 9RA

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Listing Text

1881, designed by W R Galbraith, built by Sir William Arrol. 16-span viaduct (total length 440m) of latticed wrought iron girders with slight convex curve to each span, supported on 15 pairs of cross-braced cylindrical piers made of riveted wrought iron plates. To SW end, brick abutment with rectangular piers clasping iron structure; sandstone copes and band course; short sloping wing wall to E, longer canted sloping wing wall to W. To NE end, brick abutment with rectangular piers clasping iron structure; sandstone copes and moulded band course.

1879, Sir Thomas Bouch. 17-span slightly curved brick viaduct; semicircular arches on slightly battered rectangular piers; A92 road runs beneath southernmost arch. Red brick (replaced with newer, matching brick in several areas), predominantly English bond; roughly tooled stone band course above arches, low parapet with plain metal railings; to W side of southmost arch, to band course, small raised shield bearing initials, possibly `RIN' and dated 1879. Various reinforcement plates, applied predominantly regularly; railway track reinforcement applied to soffit of northmost arch. To E side of S end, sloping stone coped wing wall.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

J.Hume, THE INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY OF SCOTLAND. 2. THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS, (1977), p142. J Thomas and D Turnock, A REGIONAL HISTORY OF THE RAILWAYS OF GREAT BRITAIN, (1989), pp138-140'page=../know/newsletter_phew_jun98.asp.

The South Esk Viaducts were built as part of the North British Arbroath and Montrose Railway; the Act for the establishment of the line received its Royal assent in 1871. However, the commencement of construction was delayed for several years by the slow progress of the Tay Bridge and the Dundee end of the line.

Construction of the South Esk Viaducts began in 1879 to the designs of Sir Thomas Bouch, the engineer who designed the ill-fated first Tay Bridge, which famously collapsed on the 28th of December 1879, killing 75 passengers. Following the disaster, there were great concerns that the weaknesses that caused the failure of the Tay Bridge might also be present in the iron viaduct at Montrose. The worries were well founded; Bouch´s plans showed a straight bridge yet the bridge as constructed had a distinct curve, and many of the piers were noticeably out of the perpendicular. In 1880 the iron viaduct was subjected to vigorous tests over a 36 hour period, using both dead and rolling loads. At the end of the test period, the structure was seriously distorted and pronounced to be unsafe. The southerly brick approach viaduct was retained. The existing replacement for the northmost viaduct was designed by W. R. Galbraith, a consulting engineer. The wrought iron lattice girder construction of the viaduct is based on designs developed by Sir John Macneill and James Thomson in the 1830s and 40s. The design was widely used by Victorian engineers, until rendered obsolete by the introduction of other American truss designs in the 1880s. South Esk Viaduct at Montrose was probably the last major bridge in the United Kingdom to be built with this type of bracing.

The brick viaduct, also known as Inchbrayock Railway Viaduct, is partly situated in Craig Parish, and was formerly listed in that parish (originally listed 15.01.1980, upgraded to B 20.01.89).

Source: Historic Scotland

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.