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Gauxholme Viaduct

Todmorden - Gauxholme No. 2 Viaduct

Gauxholme Viaduct

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 12, 2018

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Manchester and Leeds Railway) Over Rochdale Canal
Todmorden: Yorkshire and the Humber, England: United Kingdom
Structure Type
Metal Tied Through Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1840 By Builder/Contractor: Joseph Butler and Company of Stanningley, England and Engineer/Design: George Stephenson
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
102.0 Feet (31.1 Meters)
Structure Length
153.0 Feet (46.6 Meters)
Roadway Width
26 Feet (7.92 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View 1838 Railway Practice Book

This is one of only a few through style cast iron arch bridges in the UK. Most cast iron arch bridges are deck arch bridges. This tied through arch has beautiful castellated abutments and the arches themselves are beautiful with gothic sub-arches above the main arch rib. The cast iron superstructure was turned into a decoration only when load-bearing plate girders were added in 1906. Thanks to this early historic preservation effort, the cast iron engineering remains in place today. The bridge originally had floorbeams hung from rods under the bracing that spans between the pairs of arches that are on either side of the railway. One of these floorbeams was retained, presumably for interpretive purposes, while the remainder were removed and replaced with riveted floorbeams for the plate girder.

Details starting on PDF page 155 of the 1838 Railway Practice book (link available above) show another arch bridge with some similar design details to this bridge. See image below. Of interest are the ornamental panels that feature overlapping circles. It is suspected that some sort of similar ornamental panels once existed alongside the bottom chord tie rods of the Gauxholme Viaduct. Lugs and holes are seen on the bottom of the bridge's arch, with nothing attached to them today, hinting at this.

The crown of the arch has a tiny casting of the builder of the bridge. Difficult to read (English Heritage thought it was illegible) it reads: "J Butler & Co. Iron Founders Stanningley Near Leeds 1840."

A stone arch elevated railway viaduct system provides an approach to this bridge, but for clarity this is not being considered part of the actual cast iron bridge.

Graces Guide has additional information as does Engineering Timelines.

Official Heritage Listing Information and Findings

Listed At: Grade II


List Entry Number: 1229838

Manchester and Leeds Railway Gauxholme Viaduct. Railway bridge. 1840 by George Stephenson. Pitch faced retaining walls, large dressed stone towers with cast-iron and steel bridge between. 4 semi-octagonal towers with torus moulded band. Blank shield to one face flanked by blind arrow-slits. Band underneath false machiolations with embattled parapet. Original cast-iron bridge has segmental arch with engraved shield to centre (not legible). Gothic cavetto chamfered lancets support top rail. Set between the original bridge, which now acts as a balustrade, is square sectional steel bridge, mid C20, carrying the present line. The most outstanding railway bridge on the line.


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