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Almond Valley Viaduct


(Ratho Viaduct)

Known locally as "the arches", this remarkable A-listed viaduct conveys the mainline railway on a sweeping curve over the River Almond, between Broxburn and Newbridge, forming the boundary between the City of Edinburgh and West Lothian for much of its great length. The Almond Valley Viaduct (sometimes referred to as the Ratho Viaduct) is the longest structure on the Edinburgh-Glasgow railway and comprises two parts separated by a quarter-mile (0.4-km) long embankment. Built 1839-41 at a cost of £130,000 by John Gibb and Son of Aberdeen, it opened with the railway on 18th February 1842.

The massive eastern section strides confidently across the river and its floodplain, comprising thirty-six segmental masonry arches each with a span of 15.2m (50 feet). The western section is just seven arches, six of 15.2m (50 feet) and one central arch of 20.1m (66 feet) which spans the A898 Edinburgh-Bathgate road. This section has been badly affected by the mining of oil-shale beneath and the masonry piers have been re-inforced with brick.

In 1988 steel bands (old rails) were installed around the piers and arches allowing the structure to cope with the stresses brought about by trains crossing at increased speed.


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