Friday, 16 September 2011

Yarm Viaduct

The building of Yarm viaduct in 1848 was a remarkable feat of engineering. There were no mechanical excavators or mobile cranes to call on at that time, and the building materials for this impressive structure that dominates the Yarm skyline, had to be hauled into position by teams of horses and a pulley system. Yet the structure was completed in just over 4 years.
It cost £44,500 and is 760 yards long and was built to extend the Leeds and Thirsk Railway from Northallerton to Stockton and Hartlepool. The viaduct has 43 arches, two of which carry the railway over the River Tees, these are 65ft high and have spans of 67 ft and took 139,000 cubic feet of stone to build.
Over seven and a half million bricks went into the building of the viaduct which was designed by Thomas Grainger and John Bourne of Edinburgh. The official opening was in May 1852.
Three years after the opening, it was to claim the first of a number of fatalities. On an exceptionally dark wet night, a train overshot the platform and an unsuspecting stranger to the area in alighting from his carriage, stepped over the parapet and fell 74 ft. An inquest jury recommended that “some fencing be erected”. Over the years there have also been a number of suicides on the viaduct.

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