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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yarm Viaduct
Yarm Viaduct.jpg
Yarm Viaduct; the second arch on the left after the river has been strengthened with extra bricks
Coordinates54°30′41″N 1°21′25″W / 54.511411°N 1.356910°W / 54.511411; -1.356910
OS grid referenceNZ417131
CarriesRailway traffic
CrossesRiver Tees
LocaleYarm, North Yorkshire/County Durham
OwnerNetwork Rail
Maintained byNetwork Rail
Total length2,280 feet (690 m)
Height65 feet (20 m) (above river)
Longest span67 feet (20 m)
No. of spans43
Piers in water1
Rail characteristics
No. of tracks2
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
DesignerThomas Grainger
John Bourne
Constructed byTrowsdale, Jackson & Garbutt
Construction start1849
Construction cost£44,500 (1852)
Opened15 May 1852

Yarm Viaduct carries railway traffic above the town of Yarm and across the River Tees straddling the boundary between North Yorkshire and County Durham in northern England. The railway it is situated on, runs between Northallerton and Eaglescliffe, and was opened in 1852 as part of the extension of the Leeds Northern Railway to Stockton-on-Tees. The line and viaduct are currently owned and maintained by Network Rail and carries passenger traffic for TransPennine Express and Grand Central train operating companies. It also sees a variety of freight traffic.

The viaduct consists of 43 arches; 41 of which are made of red brick, with the two arches straddling the water constructed of stone. The viaduct, which is cited for its appearance and height above the town, was grade II listed in 1966.[1]


The section of line through Yarm to Eaglescliffe (original Preston) Junction[2][3][4] was formally started in July 1847,[5] but work on the viaduct did not commence until 1849.[6]

The structure opened up to traffic on 15 May 1852[7] and it was the last work completed by Grainger as he died two months later in a railway accident in Stockton-on-Tees.[8] The viaduct is noted for its height above the town of Yarm and is variously described as being "towering", "very beautiful" and "great".[9][10] One local writer described the viaduct as being "acknowledged as the finest in the kingdom".[11] Due to its height and length, when viewing the town from afar (especially from the west) the viaduct is a dominating structure across the town.[12]

The line that the viaduct is on (Northallerton to Eaglescliffe line) carries passenger services for Grand Central (Sunderland to London King's Cross)[13] and TransPennine Express (Middlesbrough to Manchester Airport) as well as a variety of freight traffic to and from the north east.[14]

The structure was strengthened in some of its spans with extra bricks on the inside of the arches and stabilisation works undertaken in 2001 due to subsidence, lessened the vibrations felt by property owners below the viaduct either significantly or completely.[15][16]


The viaduct extends for over 2,280 feet (690 m) in a north/south direction over the town of Yarm and across the River Tees.[17] It consists of 43 arches; 41 of them are 40 feet (12 m) span and are constructed of 7.5 million red bricks. The other two arches are constructed from stone and are 67 feet (20 m) across[note 1] with one pier standing in the river. The two spans across the river are composed of 139,000 cubic feet (3,900 m3) of stone[18] and are skewed across the river by 20 degrees.[19][20] On the downstream side of the viaduct (eastern side) is a large plaque set into the stone section of where the bridge spans the river. This commemorates the engineers and contractors on the project.[21][22]

Workers on the structure (navvies) were paid £1 per day with the total cost of the bridge being £44,500 by its completion in 1852 (£5.6 million equivalent in 2016).[10] A system of pulleys worked by teams of horses allowed the raw materials to be brought onto the site.[23]


  • In 1855, when Yarm railway station was at the northern end of the viaduct,[note 2][24] a train travelling south overshot the station in the darkness and bad weather. A passenger alighted from a carriage and fell 74 feet (23 m) to his death.[25][26]
  • In 1997, a train of ballast became partially derailed in Eaglescliffe as it was heading south. When it travelled over the viaduct, loose ballast from the derailed wagon was thrown 100 feet (30 m) onto the properties below the viaduct.[27]


  1. ^ The original design by Grainger had called for a single span over the water of 125 feet (38 m)
  2. ^ The original station opened with the line in 1852 and closed in 1960. A new station was opened in 1996 some distance south of the first station across the river on the Yorkshire side.


  1. ^ Historic England. "Yarm Viaduct  (Grade II) (1139259)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  2. ^ "History of Preston Junction, in Stockton on Tees and County Durham | Map and description". Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  3. ^ Langley, J Baxter (1963). The illustrated official guide and tourist's hand book to the North Eastern Railway and its branches. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Lambert. p. 198. OCLC 25963310.
  4. ^ Hoole, K (1974). A regional history of the railways of Great Britain. Vol. 4, North East England. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. p. 126. ISBN 0-7153-6439-1.
  5. ^ "OPENING OF THE LEEDS NORTHERN EXTENSION TO STOCKTON AND HARTLEPOOL". The Leeds Mercury (6, 180). 18 May 1852. p. 5. OCLC 11968069.
  6. ^ Thompson, Alan R; Groundwater, Ken (1992). British railways past and present. Kettering: Silver Link. p. 65. ISBN 0-947971-84-X.
  7. ^ Rennison, R W, ed. (1996). Civil engineering heritage. Northern England (2 ed.). London: Thomas Telford. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-7277-2518-1.
  8. ^ Chrimes, Mike (2002). Skempton, A W; Chrimes, M M; Cox, R C; Cross-Rudkin, P S M; Rennison, R W; Ruddock, E C (eds.). A biographical dictionary of civil engineers in Great Britain and Ireland. London: Thomas Telford. p. 265. ISBN 0-7277-2939-X.
  9. ^ Lee, C H (23 September 2004). "Grainger, Thomas (1794–1852), railway engineer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/11237. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  10. ^ a b Lloyd, Chris (12 May 2016). "Yarm viaduct: way to go!". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  11. ^ Heavisides, Henry (1865). The annals of Stockton-on-Tees; with biographical notices. Stockton-on-Tees: Heavisides. p. 211. OCLC 23381160.
  12. ^ "Yarm Conservation Area Appraisal" (PDF). p. 6. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Hartlepool Borough Council Local Transport Plan 3 2011-2026" (PDF). April 2011. p. 16. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  14. ^ "East Coast Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy" (PDF). February 2008. p. 53. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  15. ^ Hughes, M T (2002). Railway engineering 2002 5th international conference and exhibition, London, UK, 3-4 July 2002 ; [registered papers]. Edinburgh: Engineering Technics Press. p. 116. ISBN 0947644490.
  16. ^ Lesley, L (2009). "2; Fatigue in railway and tramway track". In Robinson, Mark; Kapoor, Ajay (eds.). Fatigue in Railway Infrastructure. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-84569-702-0.
  17. ^ "Yarm Railway Viaduct". Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  18. ^ "Imposing giant found favour in quaint town". Evening Gazette. 19 March 2013. ProQuest 1317634184.
  19. ^ "Engineering Timelines - Yarm Viaduct". Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  20. ^ Lloyd, Chris (16 May 2016). "From the archive: Yarm viaduct". Darlington and Stockton Times. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  21. ^ Woodhouse, R (1991). The River Tees : a North Country river. T. Dalton. p. 65. ISBN 0-86138-091-6.
  22. ^ "Bridges over the Tees" (PDF). Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  23. ^ "A Brief History of the River Tees" (PDF). p. 17. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  24. ^ Hoole, Ken (1985). Railway stations of the North East. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. p. 198. ISBN 0-7153-8527-5.
  25. ^ Chrystal, Paul (2017). The Place Names of Yorkshire; Cities, Towns, Villages, Rivers and Dales, some Pubs too, in Praise of Yorkshire Ales (1 ed.). Catrine: Stenlake. p. 91. ISBN 9781840337532.
  26. ^ Barlow, Rob (30 August 2007). "Yarm Viaduct". Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  27. ^ Brayshay, Chris (21 May 2001). "Residents' fears over 'bouncing' rail line". The Northern Echo. ProQuest 328958178.

External links

This page was last edited on 21 January 2021, at 17:00
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