Hearthope viaduct is on the West Coast Main Line not far from Beattock Summit. The original structure had been in place since 1848 and had been gradually upgraded over the years, by 1875 it was a wrought iron six span structure which largely remained the same until its replacement with a two span steel structure during Easter 2006. The bridge was designed by Scott Wilson and built by Skanska.
The whole project consisted of the removal of overhead line and signalling equipment, demolishing the existing 130 year old viaduct, replacing it with a new steel structure and reinstatement of overhead line equipment, signalling equipment and track.
Railway Drainage were contracted by Clough Smith Rail to help with associated works using road rail excavators and trailers to dig, lift and transport materials around the site under our railway safety case. Plant used included road/rail Case Megarailers, road/rail Kobelco tracked excavators and flat rail trailers.
The replacement viaduct structure was constructed and erected on site adjacent to the existing, on a series of trestles. To save time, the new span had fully ballasted track laid on it before it was slid sideways in to position. Six hundred metres of track either side of the viaduct was realigned to complete the works.
The whole project went very smoothly and was handed back ahead of time. Tony Simpson, Managing Director of Clough Smith Rail said “Our team of highly skilled and motivated engineers, including our OLE partners ETI have worked long hours for weeks preparing for the Easter blockade. All the hard work and perparation resulted in the project being handed back ahead of the schedule. This has been a major engineering feat and we are proud to be associated wih it. The team lead by Rob Sheldon worked with Skanska and Network Rail to ensure that the whole project was kept on target.”