A viaduct repaired!
We are delighted to report that the last piece of corbelling was slotted in to place on the Falling Sands Viaduct in December, marking the end of the restoration works.
Of course, this project has not been without its challenges, including Covid-
19, bats and even bees so, it’s a huge accomplishment for the repairs to be finished just a matter of weeks later than was originally planned.
Work began on restoring the viaduct’s waterproofing back in December 2019 when the track was lifted, ballast removed and new fibre-reinforced concrete cast over the arches. Damage to the original waterproofing meant that water was seeping in to the arches, causing cracks and eroding brickwork and mortar joints.
Phase two, to repair the brickwork, commenced in June 2020 but swiftly came to a halt when bats were seen flying out from beneath one the arches! A license was obtained from Natural England and thankfully work was able to restart in July. Workers were often seen dangling from ropes off the side of the viaduct scraping out mortar and re-casing the bricks. For a more in-depth look at the restoration works, check out our timeline of each phase.
However, this is not the end of the Falling Sands project. Even as we face further uncertain months ahead, in 2021 we will be looking at new ways to engage with our visitors about the history of the SVR and the original construction of the Falling Sands Viaduct; including the development of the exhibition spaces at the Engine House and Stove R, which we hope to relaunch this spring.
Before the country was plunged in to lockdown in March 2020, we had some fantastic projects running in the local community. Primary school children visited site for a talk from our civil engineering expert, volunteer Nick Yarwood, and drew pictures of the viaduct which were displayed at the Engine House in Highley. Engineering students from Kidderminster College took part in a hard hat tour on site and of course our wonderful oral history project collected memories of the SVR for a new podcast, take a listen here.
Keep an eye on our Instagram page for updates on our progress this year