Repairs to Accrington viaduct after safety fears
A HALF-million-pound repair project to Accrington Railway Viaduct is under way.
Cherry pickers have been set up beside the historic structure to carry out bridge inspection work, ahead of ambitious repair plans for the viaduct following safety concerns.
Network Rail hopes to complete repairs to stonework defects, and a substantial fracture in the masonry, by April.
The rail authority also plans to painstakingly match new bricks and mortar to the existing structure to keep Accrington’s most striking landmark looking its best.
The Grade II listed structure, which runs from Blackburn Road to Milnshaw Lane, currently has a number of defects, including small trees growing out of the structure and defective drainage and pipes.
The work involves the installation of tie bars and pattress plates to stabilise arches, and brickwork repairs to include stitching and grouting cracks, as well as re-pointing and replacing brickwork.
A new drainage system will also be put in place throughout the structure.
Hyndburn Council leader Miles Parkinson said he applauded the investment.
He said: “Any investment in our heritage is to be welcomed, whether it be buildings, or the viaduct.
“We are lucky in Hyndburn to have such amazing architecture. Network Rail’s work on the viaduct will hopefully keep it in top condition.
“Lit up at night, it is a striking feature in the town.”
Network Rail, which owns the Victorian structure, applied for listed building planning consent in order to make a number of repairs to keep it in working order. A report said engineers had discovered water seepage at points across the structure.
The most severe defect is on span six, near King Street, described as a ‘substantial fracture’ which requires the installation of metal plates to help the load bearing capacity of the structure.
Underneath the arches
- Accrington Railway Viaduct was built by the East Lancashire Rail Co. to service the rapid expansion of their rail network in the mid 1800s.
- The original Accrington Railway Station was built at the same time, originally as a three-way junction, connecting the recently-completed lines from the west from Blackburn and the south, Haslingden to the new east bound line to Burnley.
- It was completed in 1848, just in time to carry the 5.5 miles Burnley Extension which opened in September 1848.
- The structure was plagued with severe subsidence problems. During construction four piers sank.
- Several buildings were affected by the construction of the new viaduct. The Accrington Old Water Corn Mill under the arches was closed while work was carried out in 1847 – 1848. The house at Milnshaw Farm was completely demolished to make way for the railway viaduct in 1847.