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Glasgow, Clyde Viaduct (Original)

Viaduct (19th Century)

Site Name Glasgow, Clyde Viaduct (Original)

Classification Viaduct (19th Century)

Canmore ID 167075

Site Number NS56SE 801

NGR NS 5868 6480

NGR Description NS 5870 6487 to NS 5867 6473

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Glasgow, City Of
  • Parish Glasgow (City Of Glasgow)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District City Of Glasgow
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Architecture Notes


Glasgow, original Clyde viaduct.

700ft in length, largest span 200ft, 3000 tons of iron.

ENGINEERS: Sir William Arrol and Co. 1875-1878.


Project (2007)

This project was undertaken to input site information listed in 'Civil engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' by R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Publication Account (2007)

The first Caledonian Railway Viaduct over the River Clyde was erected from May 1876 to October 1878. It had three main wrought-iron lattice spans, with slender diagonal web members, notable for having its rivets silently driven by hydraulic riveters invented by William Arrol.

As part of the early planning, a proposal was made in 1873 for a light twin-track, 11-span, wrought-iron plategirder bridge supported on cast-iron columns resting on a westerly extension of the piers of Telford’s Jamaica Street Bridge. The finely executed model for this proposal is now at the Institution of Civil Engineers’ museum at Heriot- Watt University. This proposal was abandoned in favour of the as-built design in 1875. An earlier proposal for a bridge at this site was in the 1840s to connect with the Edinburgh & Glasgow railway via a tunnel.

The 1878 viaduct’s central span was 186 ft. Its superstructure was demolished in 1966–67 except for its cylindrical piers now standing as sentinels to the operational viaduct (NS56SE 140.01). These remarkable piers, consisting of pairs of 15ft diameter cast-iron shafts, were sunk by open grabbing (see left in above view) to bedrock 85 ft below high water level ordinary spring tide. Its engineers, also for the 1873 proposal, were Blyth & Cunningham, and the contractor was Wm. Arrol & Co. The cost was £64400.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' with kind permission of Thomas Telford Publishers.


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