Home General Interest Crucial coastal viaduct on Cumbrian Coast line to receive major investment

Crucial coastal viaduct on Cumbrian Coast line to receive major investment

A multi-million-pound project to improve Eskmeals viaduct, which carries the railway over the River Esk estuary near Ravenglass in Cumbria, will start next month to make journeys faster and more reliable for Cumbrian Coast line passengers.

The £2 million investment will see wooden timbers and 600 metres of rail renewed on the 18-span viaduct which that was built in 1868 and still has its original wrought iron girders, which were strengthened in the 1920s, and its red sandstone piers which support the structure in the estuary itself.

When the new track is installed on the important link between Ravenglass and Bootle, speed restrictions imposed on trains can be lifted meaning faster journeys for passengers.

Phil James, route director for Network Rail’s North West route, said: “This significant Great North Rail Project investment at Eskmeals viaduct will ensure that the Cumbrian Coast line remains safe and reliable for passenger and freight trains for many more years to come.

“We know that this is the second time in a month that part of this line has been closed, and I want to thank passengers for their patience while work takes place.

“In line with government advice around coronavirus, we’re continuing to ask passengers to avoid public transport if at all possible and to only travel by train where your journey is essential.”

The work means the viaduct will be closed to trains for eight days between Saturday 20 and Monday 29 June.

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “The viaduct at Eskmeals is iconic and an important part of the railway heritage in Cumbria. But it’s more than that, it’s also a vital part of the current rail network.

“The viaduct has stood for more than 150 years and the improvements being carried out by Network Rail will future-proof it for generations to come.”

Engineers will also take the opportunity to upgrade walkways and handrails across the viaduct which are used by railway staff. This will enable future maintenance work on the structure to take place more easily and safely.

Nigel Wordsworth BSc(Hons) MCIJhttp://therailengineer.com

SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, mechanical equipment, project reports, executive interviews


Nigel Wordsworth graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, after which he joined the American aerospace and industrial fastener group SPS Technologies. After a short time at the research laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA, Nigel became responsible for applications engineering to industry in the UK and Western Europe. At this time he advised on various engineering projects, from Formula 1 to machine tools, including a particularly problematic area of bogie design for the HST.

A move to the power generation and offshore oil supply sector followed as Nigel became director of Entwistle-Sandiacre, a subsidiary of the Australian-owned group Aurora plc. At the same time, Nigel spent ten years as a Technical Commissioner with the RAC Motor Sports Association, responsible for drafting and enforcing technical regulations for national and international motor racing series.

Joining Rail Engineer in 2008, Nigel’s first assignment was a report on new three-dimensional mobile mapping and surveying equipment, swiftly followed by a look at vegetation control machinery. He continues to write on a variety of topics for most issues.

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