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Ballochmyle Viaduct

Railway Viaduct (19th Century)

Site Name Ballochmyle Viaduct

Classification Railway Viaduct (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) River Ayr; Kingencleugh; Catrine, Railway Viaduct

Canmore ID 72662

Site Number NS52NW 21

NGR NS 50879 25392

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council East Ayrshire
  • Parish Mauchline
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cumnock And Doon Valley
  • Former County Ayrshire

Archaeology Notes

NS52NW 21 50879 25392

Ballochmyle Viaduct [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1992.

Location formerly entered as from NS 5085 2548 to NS 5090 2529.

(Location cited as NS 508 254). Ballochmyle Viaduct, built 1846-8 for the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Rly. A splendid 7-arch viaduct with a central span of 181 ft (55.2m). All the arches are semicircular with dressed-stone arch rings and coursed-rubble piers and spandrels. The central arch is believed to be the longest masonry railway arch ever built.

J R Hume 1976.

This bridge was designed by John Miller (of the Edinburgh firm of Granger & Miller) and built by Ross & Mitchell and work started in September 1846 opening to traffic on 9 August 1848, and remains in use.

M Smith 1994.

This bridge carries the Glasow-Carlisle main line (the 'Nithsdale line') of the former Glasgow and South-Western Rly. over the River Ayr about 2.5km W of Catrine (NS52SW 17). It remains in regular use by passenger traffic.

The location assigned to this record defines the centre of the span. The available map evidence indicates that it exists from NS c. 50906 25294 to NS c. 50853 25482.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 23 May 2006.


Construction (1846 - 1848)

Built on the Cumnock Branch of the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarncock and Ayr Railway. SEE

The National Archives of Scotland: drawing RHP99399/1, Date 23 Aug 1845-24 Sep 1846:

Description 'Water of Ayr Contract. Drawings of viaduct over the Water of Ayr.' On reverse: 'Ballochmyle Bridge. Contract Drawing.'

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)

Arguably Britain’s most outstanding masonry arch viaduct, which comprises a main span of 181 ft span towering 164 ft above the Ayr flanked on each side by three 50 ft span arches. It was built from 1846–48 on the Cumnock Branch of the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock & Ayr Railway. All the arches are semicircular. The restrained ornamentation includes raised panels in the spandrels.

Although the span of Grosvenor Bridge at Chester was 19 ft longer, its height was only just over one-third that of Ballochmyle. The masterpiece of centring required to build the arch at this height was fortunately recorded for posterity by D. O. Hill [using photograhy] and [James] Newlands (J Newlands, 1865, Plate LV). The masonry is mainly of red sandstone quarried locally although the arch-ring was constructed of harder freestone quarried near Dundee. The foundation stone was laid on 5 September 1846.

The viaduct was designed by the company’s engineer, John Miller, who was second to none as a designer of

large masonry railway viaducts. The resident engineer was William McCandlish and the contractor, Ross &

Mitchell. The viaduct’s grace and excellence serve as a fitting memorial to their achievement.

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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