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Wolston Viaduct (Brandon Viaduct)
River Avon, Brandon, Warwickshire, UK
Wolston Viaduct (Brandon Viaduct)
associated engineer
Robert Stephenson
date  1835 - 1837, opened September 1838
UK era  Victorian  |  category  Railway Viaduct  |  reference  SP408761
ICE reference number  HEW 767
photo   Ian Rob (cc-by-sa/2.0)
A low viaduct built to carry the London & Birmingham Railway across the River Avon and the road between the villages of Brandon and Wolston, east of Coventry in Warwickshire. Also known as Avon Viaduct. It is in good repair and is part of the modern west coast main line railway network.
The London & Birmingham Railway was London's first intercity line. Engineered by Robert Stephenson (1803-59), the 181km line ran north-north west from Euston Station to Rugby, and then west via Coventry to Curzon Street Station in Birmingham. Its construction was divided into 30 contracts, of which Wolston Viaduct was the smallest.
On 6th May 1833, the Act incorporating the railway company received royal assent. Work on the viaduct began in 1835.
The 15 span structure is less than 12.2m high. It consists of nine semi-elliptical arches of 7.3m span and 2.3m rise, flanked by three semicircular arches of 3m span at each end. The arches and supporting piers are of brick with sandstone ashlar facings and voussoirs. The viaduct's coped parapet walls bear decorative stone ogee mouldings at rail level.
The nine central arches are supported by piers with brick cutwaters that reach the height of the arch springings. Between the central arches and the flanking ones, the piers include engaged full-height canted brick pilasters. The abutment pilasters are also full height.
The viaduct carries double railway tracks. The river is about 8.2m below rail level, and flows under three of the main arches. The minor road from Wolston to Brandon passes beneath the westernmost main arch.
The viaduct was completed in 1837 and the railway opened in September 1838, originally with twin tracks throughout. The revised estimated cost of the viaduct was 8,621.
Later work (date unknown) included the strengthening the main arches by the addition of two tie bars and plates to each, and the bricking-up two of the three semicircular arches at the west end enabling the embankment to be extended. Electrification of the line between Euston and Birmingham entailed installing a portal frame on the viaduct to support overhead wires.
Wolston Viaduct is a distinctive local landmark, almost unchanged by time. It features in an illustration by John Cooke Bourne (1814-96), which was number 30 in a series of 33 depicting the London & Birmingham Railway (published 1838). It is somewhat similar in design and construction to the larger structure carrying the same railway over the River Great Ouse Wolverton Viaduct.
Wolston Viaduct was Grade II listed in August 1987.
Resident engineer: Thomas Longridge Gooch
Resident engineer: Frank Forster
Contractor: Samuel Hemming
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH E&C

Wolston Viaduct (Brandon Viaduct)