Ballochmyle Viaduct

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Ballochmyle Viaduct
Ballochmyle Viaduct.jpg
Coordinates 55°29′29″N 4°23′57″W / 55.4914308°N 4.3990452°W / 55.4914308; -4.3990452Coordinates: 55°29′29″N 4°23′57″W / 55.4914308°N 4.3990452°W / 55.4914308; -4.3990452
Crosses River Ayr
Material Stone
Height 164 feet (50 m)
Longest span 181 feet (55 m)
No. of spans 7
Construction begin March 1846
Construction end March 1848
Opened 1850
View of the viaduct from the river Ayr, circa 1900

The Ballochmyle Viaduct is the highest extant railway viaduct in Britain. It is 169 feet (52 m) high, and carries the railway over the River Ayr in East Ayrshire, Scotland, close to the towns of Mauchline and Catrine.


The viaduct was designed by John Miller of Edinburgh for the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway.[1] This railway was the northern part of the line from Glasgow to Carlisle via Kilmarnock. The resident engineer for the construction was William McCandlish and the contractors were Ross & Mitchell.[1]

The stone bridge was begun in March 1846 and the last stone placed on 2 March 1848, but the railway itself was not completed until 1850.[2][3]

At the time of its construction it was the largest masonry arch in the world.[3] The viaduct was listed as a Category A listed building in January 1989.[3]

It features in the 1996 film Mission: Impossible.[4] In 2014 it was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the Institution of Civil Engineers.[5]


The viaduct has seven spans, three 50 feet (15 m) spans either side of a central 181 feet (55 m) span.[1] The main arch is 164 feet (50 m) above the River Ayr.[1] The arches are all semicircular, with an arch ring built of hard stone quarried near Dundee, but local red sandstone was used for the rest of the structure.[1]

The bridge is still in use, and has been upgraded to cope with heavy coal trains without altering its external appearance.[3][5] It carries a double track railway across the river approximately between Mauchline and Catrine.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Ballochmyle Viaduct". Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Smith, Martin (1994). British Railway Bridges & Viaducts. ISBN 0-7110-2273-9. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Ballochmyle Viaduct". Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ballochmyle Viaduct to become 'national historical civil engineering landmark'". Institution of Civil Engineers. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "'Masterpiece' Ballochmyle Viaduct gets major award". The Scotsman. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Google (23 January 2015). "Ballochmyle Viaduct" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 

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