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Every journey ends with a memory.

Falling Sands Viaduct

Falling Sands Viaduct

The line between Kidderminster and Bewdley is currently closed so we can undertake vital restoration works on Falling Sands Viaduct.

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.

Restoration Updates

Work is now underway in earnest on the restoration of Falling Sands Viaduct.  As many readers will already be aware, the last few days of our Festive Season services have been running between Bewdley and Bridgnorth only, as the line was closed between Kidderminster and Bewdley to allow the works to commence on the viaduct.

On the last two days of 2019, the paid permanent way team was supplemented by more than a dozen volunteers to carry out the task of lifting the track from above the viaduct. Volunteer p/way administrator Keith Brown was one of working party:

“After a few initial problems, we got off to a great start with the job, and by the end of the first day we’d lifted more than half the track.  We completed the task the following day.  The sun was out – and that’s not something we often see when we’re starting on winter permanent way work! It was a thoroughly productive couple of days, and very satisfying to be kicking off this important restoration project.  Thanks to everyone who turned out to help.”

The appointed contractors for the project, Walsh Construction, have now started to remove ballast from the structure of the viaduct. 

This major project is being funded by a £925,000 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, along with almost £400,000 of donations from individuals, community organisation, companies and other grant-making bodies. 

For more information and updates on the project, please visit
www.fallingsandsviaduct.org.uk

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