Victorian viaduct strengthened and repaired to safeguard rail travel in Lancashire

Capernwray viaduct carries the line between Settle and Carnforth. (Network Rail)

A Victorian viaduct that carries the railway over the River Keer, near Capernwray in Lancashire, has been restored and reinforced in a £500,000 project.

The River Keer was temporarily dammed and diverted through a pipe. (Network Rail)

The viaduct, which carries the railway over the River Keer near Capernwray, was built by the Furness and Midland Joint Railway which opened in 1867. It is on the Northern route between Carnforth and Settle.

Network Rail scheme project manager Thomas Carrington explained: “Over the years, Capernwray viaduct has suffered damaged by the River Keer moving material that has eroded the foundations. We needed to divert the water to safely access the viaduct walls either side of the riverbed to carry out repairs and install rock armour to protect the structure.”

So that engineers could safely carry out the work on the riverbed and viaduct walls, the River Keer was temporarily dammed and diverted through a pipe. This meant that 157 fish, including salmon and brown trout, had to be rescued and relocated upstream.

Cleaning brickwork on Capernwray viaduct. (Network Rail)

“We worked closely with the Environment Agency during the work,” Thomas Carrington continued, “allowing us to bring the project forward to help minimise disruption to our lineside neighbours and the local environment.”

Work included restoring brickwork, strengthening 11 arches with special anchors and plates, and protecting the structure’s footings in the river from erosion.

Years of built up dirt was also cleaned from the length of the viaduct.

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