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.