Ribblehead Viaduct repair work completed

The Ribblehead viaduct was wrapped in scaffolding for five months.

Network Rail has now completed its work to repair the iconic Ribblehead viaduct in North Yorkshire.

Since November 2020, 100ft-high scaffolding towers have moved across seven of the viaduct’s 24 arches to carry out masonry, drainage and repainting work.

The £2.1 million investment will secure the Grade II* listed structure’s future as both an historic landmark and vital railway link on the Settle-Carlisle railway line.

The improvements have been completed in time for easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions this spring ready for an expected ‘Staycation Summer’.

As the Covid-19 lockdown eases, and stay-at-home holidays seem likely to be popular, many people are expected to visit the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with the Ribblehead viaduct being one of its star attractions.

Philippa Britton, principal programme sponsor for Network Rail, said: “The teams have worked throughout a harsh winter to restore this hugely important and impressive piece of Victorian engineering for the future and I’m hugely proud of the work we’ve carried out as part of the Great North Rail Project.

“We’ve worked incredibly closely with heritage experts and conservationists to make sure the repairs were sympathetic to the historic structure but would also last the test of time. Now these once-in-a-generation repairs are complete, we hope you won’t see scaffolding on this scale at Ribblehead again for many years to come.”

The much-loved Ribblehead viaduct is not only one of the country’s most recognisable railway structures, it is also an important transport corridor for local people, tourists and freight as it carries the Settle to Carlisle railway 400 metres across the Ribble valley.

During this project, the latest laser and drone survey technology mapped every inch of the Grade II* listed viaduct for the first time, giving a detailed record of its condition so it can be closely monitored in future.

 In February plans were submitted to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to fix further minor faults found during the course of the planned work. This unexpected planning application was granted so the repairs could be completed as part of the same project.

With experts already in place, this saved a huge amount of taxpayers’ money – preventing Network Rail from having to come back and erect scaffolding all over again in the near future.

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