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Podgill Viaduct
Ladthwaite Beck, near Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria
Podgill Viaduct
associated engineer
Sir Thomas Bouch
date  1859 - 4th July 1861
era  Victorian  |  category  Railway Viaduct  |  reference  NY782079
ICE reference number  HEW 2629
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
The eleven slender arches of Podgill railway viaduct originally carried the single track of the Stainmore Railway across Ladthwaite Beck, a couple of kilometers east of Kirby Stephen in Cumbria.
The Stainmore Railway, or more correctly the South Durham & Lanchashire Union Railway, was a transport initiative of the 1850s. It took a route over Stainmore Summit, which has an elevation of 420m above sea level, making Stainmore the second highest railway line in England. It opened in 1861 but closed in the 1960s.
Podgill Viaduct and its nearby sister Merrygill Viaduct, are Grade II listed structures. They were both built in local limestone. Both were widened in 1889-92 to enable them to carry a second rail track. To accomplish this, almost identical structures were built alongside each viaduct and tied into the originals.
Podgill is 142m long and was originally 3.65m between parapets. The current width is 7.8m. At its maximum height, the railway was 26m above the stream below. Three safety refuges are provided on the west side of the viaduct and four to the east side. These have been created by omitting short lengths of rusticated-stone parapet and replacing them with cast iron plates bolted to the parapet each side, making thinner walls at those locations.
The eleven semicircular arches each span 9.1m and are framed by a single row of rusticated voussoir stones. The parapets above have projecting capstones, 330mm wide. At each end of the viaduct, as part of the abutments, pilasters run the height of the stonework and parapets, topped by single rectangular monumental stones lying on their sides and cut to pyramid shapes at the their tops.
Near the top of each pier can be seen double rows of projecting stones. These were used to support the temporary timber centering needed for construction of the arches.
The viaduct was acquired by the Northern Viaduct Trust in 2000. Since then they have repaired the masonry, waterproofed the former track bed and raised the surface of the deck by 300mm. It is now used by pedestrians and forms part of the Trust's 'railway trail'.
Contractor: Chambers & Hilton (1859-61), P. Maudsley (2000)
Research: PD and AJD
"Exploring the Eden Viaducts"
The Northern Viaduct Trust, information leaflet

Podgill Viaduct