£1.5m project for historic viaduct

A HUGE repair project that will take three years and cost £1.5m has begun on the historic Harringworth Viaduct.

Scaffolding now dominates the 125-year-old viaduct, which is the biggest masonry rail structure in Europe.

Contractors for Network Rail are carrying out repairs and repointing to the bricks and stonework, as well as rebuilding sections of the bridge's parapets.

The viaduct is 57ft high with 82 arches, each with a 40ft span.

Only four arches can be worked on at a time, which means the project will take three years to complete.

About 20 workers for contractors Birse will be working on the repairs.

Structure maintenance engineer for Network Rail Glenn Darby said:

"The construction of the viaduct started back in 1874 and the bricks used were made of local clay.

"The brickwork has deteriorated in certain places over the years and we are working carefully to restore the bridge to its former glory.

"The project forms part of our commitment to rebuild Britain's railways."

Only goods trains now use the viaduct, connecting Kettering, Corby and Manton, along with the occasional stream train on special trips and Midland Mainline services when they are diverted.

Viaduct factfile:

Harringworth Viaduct opened in 1879 to provide a route with easier gradients for heavy coal trains on the Kettering to Leicester line

More than 20 million bricks were needed to build it and brickworks had to be set up at either end

2,500 men were employed during the construction

It is three quarters of a mile long