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London Road Viaduct, Brighton
over Preston Road, Brighton, East Sussex, UK
associated engineer
John Urpeth Rastrick
date  29th May 1845 - 28th March 1846
UK era  Victorian  |  category  Railway Viaduct  |  reference  TQ308056
ICE reference number  HEW 491
The London Road Viaduct was built as part of the London & Brighton Railway, and carries trains to Lewes. John Rastrick designed the red brick structure, which dominates a residential area of east Brighton. It received Grade II* listed status on 19th April 1974, and is crossed by 174 trains every weekday.
The 357m long viaduct is constructed on a curve and has a maximum height of 20.4m above street level. It has 27 arches, 26 of which are semi-circular with spans of 9.1m. The arch over Preston Road is semi-elliptical and has a span of 15.2m.
The viaduct's piers are thicker on the outside of the curve than on the inside. The radii of curvature for 16 of the arches is 1.2km and 0.2km for the remaining 11 arches.
To maintain a constant arch span, the piers are tapered in elevation, being 2.1m thick at the base and 1.5m thick at the top. The piers have deep vertical voids in the centre, some 3m wide. The tracks are carried on five two-ring brick 1.2m span semi-circular longitudinal jack arches. The cornices and parapets are in Caen stone and there are refuges over each pier.
The viaduct was constructed in just 10 months and used some 10 million bricks. Although it was built on an open site, by the 1870s the railway had stimulated development to the extent that the viaduct was surrounded by densely terraced housing.
On 25th May 1943, a 450kg bomb dropped by a German Focke Wolfe fighter plane exploded against Pier 7. Arches 7 and 8 were destroyed and the track was left hanging in mid air. A temporary steel structure enabled trains to cross the viaduct within a few days.
The permanent repairs new pier and arches were constructed in heavy duty blue engineering bricks, and can be clearly seen. The line was reopened on 12th October 1943.
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH South

London Road Viaduct, Brighton