Irish: Tarbhealach na Bóinne
|Designer||John Benjamin Macneill|
|Design||Stone arch & Iron truss|
The Boyne Viaduct (Irish: Tarbhealach na Bóinne), a 30m (98ft) high railway bridge, or viaduct, that crosses the River Boyne in Drogheda, carrying the main Dublin–Belfast railway line. It was the seventh bridge of its kind in the world when built and considered one of the wonders of the age. The viaduct was designed by the Irish civil engineer Sir John MacNeill; construction began on the bridge in 1853 and was completed in 1855.
Prior to its construction railway passengers had to make their way through the town, from the stations on either side of the river, until the construction of a temporary wooden bridge, which allowed trains to cross the river from May 1853 until the completion of the viaduct.
The viaduct comprises twelve stone arches on south side, and a further three on the north. Located near a tight curve, which necessitates the slowing of trains as they approach, the central pratt truss bridge was originally made of three iron spans that were wide enough to carry two tracks. When the bridge was refurbished in the 1930s, new steel girders replacing the ironworks were constructed inside the original bridge before the iron structure was removed. This allowed trains to continue running throughout the renewal process, however the new bridge was no longer wide enough to carry two tracks. The northbound and southbound tracks were interlaced so that one rail lay between the tracks in the opposite direction, as points and a single track would have required a signal cabin on the north side of the viaduct. When the tracks were relaid in the 1990s, the interlaced tracks were replaced with a single track over the viaduct and points at each side.
During World War II, the viaduct was identified by the British as being of great strategic importance as part of the British plans for a counter-attack following a German invasion of the Irish Republic.
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- Share, Bernard (ed.) (2005). Crossing the Boyne: the great Viaduct 1855–2005. Drogheda: Iarnród Éireann; Old Drogheda Society.