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Kielder Viaduct

J F Tone, William Hutchinson and Peter Nicholson, 1862

An unusual skew-arch railway viaduct on the ouskirts of Kielder Village

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Kielder Viaduct was built in 1862 as a joint project of the Border Counties Railway and the North British Railway as part of its extension to Riccarton Junction. To obtain the approval of the Duke of Northumberland it had to be built with turrets and battlements, just why is not clear, though it was not without precedent for landowners to request such additions. The two railway companies were amalgamated in 1860.

The railway hoped to tap the coal traffic from Plashetts but this proved disappointing.although there was some traffic from forestry. Passenger traffic was always limited, though the line did open up the North Tyne valley and help to increase the population. The North British Railway now had a route from Edinburgh To Newcastle via Hexham but compared poorly with the route via Berwick, taking almost five hours for the journey.

When the line through Kielder closed to passengers on 15 October 1956 and to freight on 1 September 1958, the viaduct was preserved by the Newcastle and Northumberland Society. Since then it has been restored and a section of the Lakeside Way now follows the route of the old trackbed and a series of wrought ironwork reliefs depicting scenes relating to Kielder and its environment now occupy a number of the castellations at the west end of the structure.

While a wooden footbridge once crossed the river below the viaduct and can be clearly seen in the main image, it is long gone and no trace of it now remains.

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