Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Bennerley Viaduct

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Bennerley Viaduct.

Bennerley Viaduct is a disused railway viaduct spanning the Erewash Valley between Awsworth in Nottinghamshire and Ilkeston in Derbyshire.

This wrought iron lattice work viaduct is 1,452 feet long with the rails 60 feet 10 inches above the Erewash River.

Most railway viaducts at the time were brick built but the foundations of the Bennerley Viaduct were subject to a great deal of coal mining subsidence therefore, the lighter wrought iron design was chosen.

The viaduct was built between May 1876 and November 1877 and forms part of the Great Northern Railway Derbyshire Extension which was built in part to exploit the coalfields in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

The contract was given by the Great Northern Railway (GNR) to Benton and Woodiwiss with the line laid out by, and the viaduct designed by Richard Johnson (Chief Civil Engineer of the GNR); Samuel Abbott was the resident engineer.

The viaduct consists of 16 lattice work deck spans, each 76 feet 7 inches long supported on wrought iron columns with stone capped blue brick foundations. There were three additional iron skew spans at the Ilkeston end of the viaduct which carried the railway line over the Erewash Canal and the Midland Railway's Erewash Valley Line. A skew span crosses its abutments and or piers at an angle other than a right angle. At the Awsworth end of the viaduct there was a section of embankment (including bridges of more conventional brick construction) which has been demolished. The Nottingham Canal passed under this section. The viaduct was built for the railway line between Awsworth Junction and Derby on the Derbyshire and Staffordshire Line and opened in January 1878.

Bennerley Ironworks was originally due north of the viaduct served by sidings connected to both the Great Northern line and the Midland Railway Erewash Valley line. After the demolition of the ironworks a British Coal distribution depot served by sidings from the Midland Railway occupied the same site. This has now also been demolished.

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