Scandal Beck, Smardale, Cumbria
John Sydney Crossley
1870 - August 1875
Railway Viaduct |
ICE reference number
photo Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
A viaduct of 12 spans built as part of the Settle & Carlisle Railway, an extension of the Midland Railway. Though not as spectacular as its big brother, the Ribblehead Viaduct, it is notable for being the highest on the line at 139.6m.
It is constructed of local grey limestone plus millstone grit for the parapets and arch quoins. Piers 4 and 10 are of heavier section than the others. The idea is to use them to prevent progressive collapse should a span fail. Other viaducts on the line use a similar technique.
The viaduct is around 216m long. It spanned both Scandal Beck and the South Durham & Lancashire Union Railway line, which opened in 1861 (now closed and part of a ‘railway trail’ through a nature reserve). The last stone was laid by Mrs Agnes Crossley, wife of John Sydney Crossley, who was Chief Engineer of the Midland Railway, on 8th June 1875.
The viaduct took five years to construct.
The best way to see the viaduct is to join the railway trail opposite the small unsurfaced car park in the hamlet of Smardale. Walk 800m in a southwesterly direction. Pass under the viaduct. A short distance further on, a pathway with steps on the right leads into Demesne Wood, from where the viaduct can be seen through the trees.
Resident engineer: John S. Storey
Contractor: Benton & Woodiwiss — agent: James Hay