Smardale railway viaduct


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007241

Date first listed: 10-Jun-1976


Ordnance survey map of Smardale railway viaduct
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Crosby Garrett

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Waitby

National Grid Reference: NY 73331 08186


Smardale railway viaduct.

Reasons for Designation

Railway viaducts are usually multi span structures of two or more arches supported on piers used to carry rail. Their development is linked closely with the inception and growth of the railway transport network, which began with the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825 followed by rapid expansion throughout the 19th century and early 20th century. The development of the rail network required the preparation of straight, flat routes and necessitated the crossing of widely varied terrain through a series of engineering works including tunnels, cuttings, embankments, bridges and viaducts. Railway viaducts were built to connect points of similar height separated by topographical features such as river valleys. As an integral part of the railway network, viaducts are representative of a technological and engineering phenomenon that was initiated in Britain and allowed the industrial revolution to flourish, permanently transforming the socioeconomic status of the country. As such, early, well-preserved or architecturally outstanding examples of railway viaducts are deemed to be of national importance.

The Smardale railway viaduct remains in use as a railway viaduct as part of the Settle to Carlisle line. The viaduct represents an important feat of 19th century engineering and typifies the great challenges met during the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway and other similar lines. The monument provides insight into the manner in which railway construction transformed transportation in England and the significant impact that it had on the development of the Industrial Revolution.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 25 February 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a railway viaduct constructed in 1870-75, which spans the steep sided valley of Scandal Beck. It was designed by the civil engineer John Sydney Crossley. The viaduct is built from grey limestone blocks with millstone grit quoins and is just short of 220m long and 40m high with 12, semi-circular arched spans, it is the tallest viaduct on the line. The foundations of the viaduct are sunk 14m below ground. The viaduct was built for the Settle-Carlisle line by the Midland Railway in order to provide a new route from London to Scotland by traversing 72 miles over some of the most remote and difficult terrain in England. The line represents one of the most significant engineering feats of 19th century railway construction with the challenging terrain being traversed by 13 tunnels and 21 viaducts.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: CU 34

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape Monument No:- 1373181(Settle and Carlisle Railway)

End of official listing