Iconic Ribblehead Viaduct set for £2.1m improvement scheme

Ribblehead viaduct improvement
Credit: Network Rail

The iconic Ribblehead Viaduct will undergo maintenance and improvement work this summer to secure its future for rail passengers.

The 144-year-old structure will see improved drainage and brickwork to make journeys more reliable for passengers using the Settle to Carlisle line.


The work, part of The Great North Rail project, will start in July and will see a total of £2.1m invested in the Grade II viaduct.

Work will take place between July and October 2020, with work including:

  • Brickwork repairs
  • Removal of vegetation and repairing the damage caused by vegetation
  • Upgrades to drainage systems
  • Repainting of metal and pipework

Marc Vipham, route asset manager for structures at Network Rail, said “It’s a privilege to look after so many significant buildings and structures across the rail network, but Ribblehead viaduct has got to be one of the crown jewels of Victorian civil engineering. We know that the structure is incredibly important both locally and internationally, and we want to give it the care and attention that it deserves so that it can be enjoyed by future generations of both passengers and sightseers.”

Scaffolding will be installed so the work can be carried out safely.

Steve Hopkinson, regional director at Northern, said “The viaduct is iconic and we’re really proud to have such a magnificent piece of engineering on our network. It is also a vital  – and much loved – part of the hugely popular Settle – Carlisle Line and the work being carried out will ensure future generations are able to enjoy one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the UK.”

Paul Brown, chairman of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line group, said “This work has come about as a result of regular inspections of the Ribblehead viaduct.  We work closely with Network Rail and welcome this investment in the line’s future. The Ribblehead viaduct was once seen as the route’s major weakness.  It is now probably stronger than it was when the Victorians built it.  This work is needed to keep it that way.”

Whilst the work is taking place, no significant disruption is expected for passengers using the Settle to Carlisle line.

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