Glenesk Viaduct

History & Heritage
The Glenesk Viaduct spans a deep gorge over the North Esk, at Dalkeith. Opened in 1847, it is one of the earliest major railway bridges in Scotland.

About Glenesk Viaduct

Glenesk Viaduct is also known as Glen Arch Bridge. The design of the Viaduct is accredited to James Jardine, Engineer to the Edinburgh District Railway, however, Jardine was a close associate of Thomas Telford who it is suggested may have had an influence in its design. If this is so, in terms of historical engineering, the Glenesk Bridge should be considered the finest pre-Victorian railway bridge in Scotland.
The structure consists of a single semi-circular stone “Hasler” stone arch with a 65ft (19.8m) span, 60ft (18.3m) in height, with a deck width of 17ft (5.2m) complete with extensive wing – walled abutments. When originally built the bridge had 12inches wide parapets with 14inch capping stones reducing the deck width to 14ft 10inches (4.4m).
Contemporary evidence would suggest that the line had double tracks over its full length but the width of bridge track would suggest that either a single track or a three rail system was employed. Until recently, it was believed that the Esk has originally been bridged by a timber structure but research by Roland a Paxton would suggest that the existing structure is indeed the original (grid ref: NT315671)
The line was closed in 1969. The bridge was tastefully conserved in 1993 for pedestrian and cycle use by the Edinburgh Green Belt Trust with a grant from the Railway Heritage Trust. Unsightly steel trussing, erected in 1968 to protect the arch from the effects of possible coal-mining subsidence was removed together with the cantilevered footways probably added by Miller as part of the North British Railway upgrading in 1847.
The bridge remained as a walk and cycle way until 2015 when the Borders Railway re-opened and the restored line ran from Edinburgh to Tweedbank near Galashiels.
Park on Cemetery Road and follow the signs on the railway walk to reach the viaduct.

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