Home Heritage Video: Torksey Viaduct reopens

Video: Torksey Viaduct reopens

A new footpath has been officially opened across Torksey Viaduct, bringing function to a structure that has been quietly rusting since the railway it was built to carry closed in 1959.

Designed by John Fowler in the late 1840s, the viaduct prompted considerable debate amongst the engineering fraternity due to the Board of Trade’s refusal to authorise its use, claiming its girders were not strong enough to withstand their potential loading. Resolving the controversy took four months, preventing traffic from using this section of the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway until April 1850.

In 2001, custodianship was transferred to Railway Paths, sister charity of Sustrans. Recently the structure has been the beneficiary of two £200,000 grants from the Railway Heritage Trust, funding pragmatic refurbishment work and construction of the footpath. The viaduct now connects communities separated by the River Trent which forms the border between Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. Previously, it was a 15-mile trip from one end of the viaduct to the other.

Graeme Bickerdike
Graeme Bickerdikehttp://www.railengineer.co.uk

SPECIALIST AREAS
Tunnels and bridges, historic structures and construction techniques, railway safety


Graeme Bickerdike's association with the railway industry goes back to the mid-nineties when he was contracted to produce safety awareness videos and printed materials aimed at the on-track community. This led to him heading a stream of work to improve the way safety rules are communicated and understood - ultimately simplifying them - for which he received the IRSE’s Wing Award for Safety in 2007.

In 2005, Graeme launched a website to catalogue and celebrate some of the more notable disused railway structures which still grace Britain’s landscape. Several hundred have since had their history researched and a photographic record captured. A particular focus has been the construction methods adopted by Victorian engineers and contractors; as a result, the site has become a useful resource for those with asset management responsibilities.

Graeme has been writing for Rail Engineer for the past ten years, generally looking at civil engineering projects and associated issues. He has a deep appreciation of the difficulties involved in building tunnels and viaducts through the 19th Century, a trait which is often reflected in his stories.

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