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network rail to survey kirkstall viaduct

network rail to survey kirkstall viaduct


Photo by Tim Green on Flickr (CC license)

Scaffolding will be going up around one of Leeds’ most valuable examples of Victorian engineering, when Network Rail carry out works to check the condition of Kirkstall Viaduct.

There is no suggestion that the railway bridge, connecting Burley to Armley across Kirkstall Road, Viaduct Road, the River Aire and the Leeds Liverpool Canal, is in anything but the best of shape. 

But a report to the council’s planning department says that other viaducts “of similar age and appearance were historically constructed with hollow piers, abutments, spandrel areas and other features … [and] instances have arisen where structures are in need of urgent remedial measures due to deteriorating masonry.”

Engineers will drill 76mm core holes into the 22-piers of the viaduct, and where voids are found CCTV cameras will be used for an internal survey. 

Built in 1849 by Thomas Grainger, engineer, for the Leeds and Thirsk Railway Company, the viaduct is a key piece of infrastructure on the modern railway network, connecting Leeds to Harrogate and York, as well as a grade II listed building. It can be seen in the aerial photos of Leeds from 1951 that we featured on The City Talking last Monday; in the view below Armley is in the foreground, and the viaduct cutting across the photo in front of two gasometers, beyond which can be seen terraced houses that have since been replaced by the Willow housing estate and studios for Radio Aire and ITV Yorkshire.


Kirkstall Viaduct in 1951, courtesy Phill Davison - click to enlarge

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