|Official name||Welland Viaduct|
|Carries||Oakham to Kettering Line|
|Locale||Northamptonshire - Rutland|
|Maintained by||Network Rail|
|Total length||1,275 yd (1.166 km)|
|Height||60 ft (18 m) maximum|
|Coordinates||grid reference SP915975|
Welland Viaduct, also known as Harringworth Viaduct and Seaton Viaduct, is a railway viaduct which crosses the valley of the River Welland between Harringworth in Northamptonshire and Seaton in Rutland, England. It is 1,275 yards (1.166 km) long and has 82 arches, each of which has a 40 feet (12 m) span. It was completed in around 1878 and is the longest masonry viaduct across a valley in Britain.
Welland Viaduct lies on the Oakham to Kettering Line and carries the twin track non-electrified line between Corby and Manton Junction, where it joins the Leicester to Peterborough line. The route is generally used for the passage of freight trains and steam train outings. In early 2009 a single daily passenger service was introduced by East Midlands Trains between Melton Mowbray and St Pancras via Corby. This is the first regular daily passenger service to operate across the viaduct since the 1960s. The viaduct is also used as a diversionary route for East Midlands Trains mainline services using the Midland Main Line route. The line and structure are a favourite with steam train and heritage enthusiasts, carrying a Grade II Listed Structure status and dominating this picturesque rural valley.
Due to the structure’s size, age, exposure and inaccessibility, the original brickwork was suffering from extensive weathering and structural deterioration. As part of the Network Rail Structures maintenance programme, Birse Rail was remitted to carry out structural repairs to the viaduct. Traditional methods and materials were employed alongside modern access techniques to return the structure to its former glory and to ensure the long-term structural integrity of the viaduct as well as the enjoyment of generations to come.
The viaduct was originally built from bricks manufactured and fired onsite which had a red face. Repairs have employed other types of bricks, predominantly blue engineering bricks which have better water resistance and are much stronger than commons making them excellent for arch re-lining and face brick replacement, leaving a patchwork appearance.
Before the extensive privatisation of British Rail repairs were regularly made to the structure by the Kettering and Leicester civil engineering staff. Many of the older bricklayers reported having seen children's hand and footprints embossed into the bricks where they had walked around and on the clay filled moulds before firing in the kiln.
- Sources vary.
- The name Seaton Viaduct is the official name of another smaller viaduct a mile further north, but the name is applied by local residents to Welland Viaduct, as evidenced in this historic postcard.
- John Marshall (1979). The Guinness Book of Rail Facts & Feats. Guinness. ISBN 0-900424-56-7.
- Jack Simmons & Gordon Biddle (editors) (1997). "Entry for bridges and viaducts". The Oxford Companion to British Railway History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-211697-5.
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