The Viaduct

20 March 2021 ·

The Viaduct at Porthkerry was opened on 1st December 1897. It is a railway viaduct, and was designed and engineered by James and William Szlumper. The Pethick brothers were contracted to build the viaduct in the late 19th century. The viaduct would link Barry Docks with Bridgend.

Building the Viaduct 1890s – Old Barry in Pictures

Construction of the viaduct began in 1894, but in August 1896 there were problems. Piers Nine and Ten showed signs of settlement. This was monitored and it was shown that over the course of three days, Pier Nine had sunk by 4-6inches and Pier Ten had sunk 3-6 inches into the ground. This massively delayed the construction as three of the arches became so distorted that they had to be taken down. This led to Piers Ten and Twelve being underpinned and Pier Eleven had to be reconstructed.

Working on the Viaduct 1900 – Old Barry In Pictures

On 1st December 1897, the Viaduct opened but by the 16th December it had been noted that the embankment was moving away and had moved Pier15. Piers Thirteen, Fourteen and Fifteen were repacked with stones in order to stabilise the embankment. On 10th January 1898, there was an indentation in the track seen above Pier Thirteen and the viaduct was closed immediately. A two and a half mile loop line diversion was quickly built so that emergency repairs and underpinning could happen. This contract was given to Price and Wills who had also built Dock No.2 in Barry,

The viaduct reopened fully for goods trains and passengers on 8th January 1900.

The viaduct became Grade II listed in 1963.

The viaduct is still an incredible sight at Porthkerry and passenger trains still pass over travelling between Cardiff and Bridgend.

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