About the Project
The SVR is acknowledged to be one of Britain’s finest preserved railways, running for 16 miles through the beautiful Severn Valley countryside of Worcestershire and Shropshire. The SVR attracts 250,000 passengers per year, holds 16 major galas and events annually and is proud to be supported by 1,700 active volunteers.
The Falling Sands Viaduct, which is on the outskirts of Kidderminster, forms part of an extension to the original SVR line (which ran from Bridgnorth to Bewdley) to connect Bewdley with Kidderminster. It straddles both the River Stour and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, a symbol of the prowess of Victorian engineering and testament to the skill and determination of all those involved in its construction and maintenance.
The aims of the Falling Sands Viaduct Project are to:
Repair the viaduct successfully to ensure there is ongoing access to the whole of the heritage railway line.
Broaden understanding of a major 19th century rail construction project through research, interpretation and educational activities.
Broaden heritage skills for staff, volunteers and apprentices.
Engage the local community and schools, especially those situated near the viaduct itself.
Although not formally listed, the viaduct is included on a local list of railway heritage assets identified by Wyre Forest District Council Conservation Officers. Water has penetrated into the viaduct arches, to cause cracks, eroded brickwork and missing mortar joints. These need sensitive repairs, including the restoration of the line of corbelling along the parapet.
The need for significant work to the viaduct was first identified by the SVR Structural Line Report in 2013. This was followed in 2014 by work from CAN Structures who removed vegetation, surveyed the extent of deterioration and established an initial budget for remediation. This created a sense of urgency, as without a repair programme, the deterioration will accelerate, putting the viability of the entire SVR line at risk.