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Kirkliston, Almond Valley Viaduct

Railway Viaduct (19th Century)

Site Name Kirkliston, Almond Valley Viaduct

Classification Railway Viaduct (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) River Almond; Almond Viaduct; Newbridge Viaduct

Canmore ID 50786

Site Number NT17SW 70

NGR NT 11237 72183

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Kirkliston (City Of Edinburgh/w Lothian)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County West Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT17SW 70 11237 72183

Location formerly cited as NT 1094 7228 to NT 1155 7210.

Not to be confused with Almond Viaduct (NO 0973 2663) near Perth, for which see NO02NE 117.

Almond Valley Viaduct [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map [no date available].

(Location cited as NT 113 722). Almond Viaduct, opened 1842 by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Rly, engineer John Miller. A 'stupendous' 36-span masonry viaduct with segmental arches of 50ft (15.2m) span. The piers and arches were originally hollow but were filled with concrete in the 1950's to allow higher speeds. The spandrels are also braced with old rails.

J R Hume 1976.

Railway viaduct, flanking and then crossing the Almond to the W, with thirty-two rock-faced arches and dressed parapet, by Grainger & Miller for the Edinburgh & Glasgow Rly, 1842.

C McWilliam 1978.

This viaduct carries the Edinburgh-Glasgow (main) line of the former North British Rly over the valley of the River Almond to the W of Ratho Station (NT17SW 75) and to the SW of Newbridge village (NT17SW 195). It remains in regular use by passenger traffic.

The viaduct is approached along impressive embankments on both sides; by far the greater proportion of the structure lies W of the river itself.

The location assigned to this record defines the midpoint of the structure. The available map evidence indicates that it extends from NT c. 10955 72299 to NT c. 11546 72101.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 2 March 2006.


Construction (1838 - 1842)

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)

Almond Valley Viaduct This massive railway viaduct is the longest structure on the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway, designed by Miller as a high-speed trunk line and constructed from 1838–42. The viaduct is in two sections, separated by a high embankment about 1/4 mile in length, and was founded in September 1839 and completed in the short time of 20 months. The eastern section comprises 36 ashlar-faced masonry arches each of 50 ft span, segmental in shape, and up to 70 ft high. It crosses the Almond Valley in a wide sweeping curve of about 112 miles radius. Subsequently the arches have been strengthened by unsightly steel spandrel ties to the arch rings.

The western section of the viaduct is of seven arches of which the centre, and largest, bridges the Edinburgh–

Bathgate road (A898). This arch is of 66 ft span and hasbeen badly affected by settlement caused by shale-oil workings in the past. It has been strengthened by brick cladding to the existing masonry piers, by the insertion of a steel truss under the arch and by tie-rods through the truss to the arch haunches. Other 50 ft span arches adjacent have been strengthened by brick in-filling to prevent distortion.

Although the strengthenings are unsightly, the viaduct is still serving the inter-city express line after 164 years. The contractor was leading bridge builder John Gibb of Aberdeen who completed his contract, which also include Winchburgh tunnel and cutting, at a loss of £40 000 as his estimate, on which the contract was based, contained a mistake, which, although he had discovered it before

tender acceptance, he nevertheless felt bound to honour.

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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