Sunday, 3 January 2010

Another snowy day - South Tyne Trail walk

A historic pic - a locomotive on the Lambley Viaduct

An afternoon walk on a section of the South Tyne Trail, which runs along the line of the former Halthwhistle to Alston branch line of what was the Newcastle to Carlisle railway, the oldest cross-country line in the UK. This section contains the Lambley Viaduct,  attributed to Sir George Barclay Bruce and listed at Grade II*.

Click to enlarge

Web album,  click on picture to view all. Pic 1 of the sequence actually has three deer in it, but they are hard to spot:

South Tyne Trail Walk Jan 3 2010

Direct link to album (all pics can be enlarged by clicking on them):


More about the Lambley Viaduct and others on the line here  (information has been taken from the booklet “Lambley Viaduct - The History, Decline and Restoration of a Great Monument” by Robert Forsythe and Charles Blackett-Ord. Published by The North Pennines Heritage Trust in 1998):

When trains began to run up the whole length of the Haltwhistle to Alston branch from 17th November 1852, all but a mile of line had been in use for months. That mile was the length of track between Shaft Hill (later Coanwood) and Lambley across the Lambley Viaduct. The line was engineered without a single tunnel, but there were some nine substantial bridging structures to compensate.

A certain mystery concerns the Viaduct’s creator. Suffice to say that it and its partners on the branch are ascribed to Sir George Barclay Bruce (1821 to 1908) The design of Lambley Viaduct seems to have been complicated. When the Alston branch line had been surveyed, for the second time, in 1848, (the photo: A Haltwhistle to Alston passenger train crosses the Lambley Viaduct. Photo from the N.E. Stead Collection) drawings then produced showed that the river at Lambley was to crossed by a viaduct with 24 arches, each of 20 feet span.

Perhaps because of the disagreements between Lord Carlisle and the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway Company or more simply because of foundation problems, the design was modified to incorporate arches of much greater span. Whatever the reason, the design features of Lambley Viaduct differ from other structures on the line. The elements of redesign may well affect Barclay Bruce’s input.

The contractors for the viaduct were Rush and Lawton. When the Newcastle Journal newspaper reported a visit to see the work in progress in September 1851, Barclay Bruce conducted the party around the works; Benjamin Lawton was also present that day. The contract for the branch stipulated that all of the stone that was used to make the viaducts, was to be stone from Prudham, i.e. the Prudhamstone quarries connected to the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway near Fourstones.

The Engineer had permission to alter this clause and it does appear that some local limestones, sandstones and gritstones were also used in the construction of the line’s viaducts.

The South Tyne Trail:

PDF leaflet with pics, history and route:

North Eastern Railway Association


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