Leaderfoot Viaduct

Coordinates: 55°36′16″N 2°40′41″W / 55.60443°N 2.677939°W / 55.60443; -2.677939
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Leaderfoot Viaduct
Leaderfoot Viaduct 2.jpg
Coordinates55°36′16″N 2°40′41″W / 55.60443°N 2.677939°W / 55.60443; -2.677939
CarriesBerwickshire Railway
CrossesRiver Tweed
MaterialStone and brick
Longest span43 feet (13 m)
No. of spans19
Clearance below126 feet (38 m)
Opened16 November 1863

The Leaderfoot Viaduct, also known as the Drygrange Viaduct, is a railway viaduct over the River Tweed near Melrose in the Scottish Borders.


The disused trackbed

The viaduct was opened on 16 November 1863 to carry the Berwickshire Railway, which connected Reston with St Boswells, via Duns and Greenlaw.[1]

The engineers of the railway were Charles Jopp and Wylie & Peddie.[2]

The railway was severely damaged by flooding during August 1948, with 7 bridges on the line failing, and the line closed to passenger traffic on 13 August 1948.[1][3] Freight trains continued to run across the viaduct as far as Greenlaw until 19 July 1965.

In 1981, the poor condition of the viaduct meant that it was due to be demolished.[4][5]

It was upgraded from Category B to A listing in 1986.[6] Historic Scotland took over control of the viaduct from British Rail in 1996.[7][8]


The viaduct with the amphitheatre at Trimontium

The viaduct stands 126 feet (38 m) from the floor of the river valley.[2] The arches, each of 43 feet (13 m) span, are of brickwork, and the abutments, piers and walls are of rustic-faced red sandstone. Some later strengthening of the abutments and piers with old rails and buttresses on the southern valley side is very obvious.[2] It is straight over its whole course, and runs in a broadly northerly direction.[9]

The viaduct is in good condition, having been renovated between 1992 and 1995.[2][6] Repairs included replacement of masonry and brickwork, grouting, and underwater repair to one of the cutwaters.[10]

It is near to the Roman settlement of Trimontium, which is to the south-west of the viaduct.[9] To the east of the viaduct are the Drygrange Old Bridge, a road bridge dating from 1776, and its modern successor.[9][11] This group of three bridges is sometimes known as Tripontium.[2] To the east of the viaduct, the River Leader flows into the Tweed from the north.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Gordon Station". rcahms.gov.uk. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Leaderfoot Viaduct". rcahms.gov.uk. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  3. ^ Benn, Jeremy (2013). "Railway bridge failure during flooding in the UK and Ireland" (PDF). Proceedings of the ICE – Forensic Engineering. 166 (4): 163–170. doi:10.1680/feng.2013.166.4.163. ISSN 2043-9903.
  4. ^ "Braced for bungee battle at the bridge". The Herald. 8 March 1994. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  5. ^ "The Marlow Donkey" (PDF) (111). 2010: 17–18. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ a b Historic Environment Scotland. "Leaderfoot Viaduct (Category A Listed Building) (LB15145)". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  7. ^ Burman, Peter; Stratton, Michael (1997). Conserving the Railway Heritage. Taylor & Francis. pp. 217–218. ISBN 978-0-419-21280-5.
  8. ^ "Historic Scotland acquires Borders viaduct". The Scotsman. 11 March 1996.
  9. ^ a b c d Google (15 March 2015). "Leaderfoot Viaduct" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  10. ^ Burman, Peter; Stratton, Michael (2014). Conserving the Railway Heritage. Taylor & Francis. p. 149. ISBN 978-1-136-74493-8.
  11. ^ "Drygrange, Old Bridge". rcahms.gov.uk. Retrieved 15 March 2015.

External links[edit]