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Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Highlands and Islands

Date 2007

Event ID 929844

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


Garmouth Viaduct (Railway)

This viaduct, built from 1883–86, was constructed to carry the Moray Coast Railway, part of the Great North of Scotland Railway, over the Spey and its floodplain 1 mile south of the coast. The river crossing was nitiallyconceived as three separate bridges spanning the disparate channels, but it was decided to divert the river into a single channel to be crossed on a viaduct with embankment approaches.

The viaduct, 950 ft long, was built to carry a single-track railway. It has an impressive 350 ft long wrought-iron lattice bow girder span over the main channel of the river and three parallel-sided wrought-iron lattice girder approach spans of 100 ft at either end. The lattice members of the main arch, 41 ft deep at mid-span, rise from open box girders at each side of the deck. Cast-iron caissons filled with concrete form the piers of the viaduct. These were sunk to bedrock at depths of 25–35 ft except for the piers at the west end of the central span where it was necessary to sink them to a depth of 75 ft.

The viaduct, erected on a forest of staging, was designed by Blyth and Cunningham and Patrick Barnett, and the contractors for the ironwork of the superstructure were Blaikie Bros., Aberdeen. The contractor for the foundations and masonry was John Fyfe & Co., Kemnay.

At the time of construction, the main channel of the Spey ran to the east of the viaduct, and much of the construction work and work on the concrete spine wall to control the direction of the river was done in the dry. On completion of the bridge the river was diverted beneath the central span.

R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Highlands and Islands' with kind permission from Thomas Telford Publishers.

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