Viaduct revamp near end
Renowned structure has been cleaned, repainted and grit-blasted
Engineers will shortly complete the £4.5million refurbishment of a landmark railway viaduct in the Highlands.
The Findhorn viaduct at Tomatin has been upgraded over the last 18 months as part of the rail operator’s UK-wide Railway Upgrade Plan.
Findhorn is widely regarded as one of Britain’s finest railway viaducts and it was designed by renowned railway engineer John Fowler, who famously designed the Forth Bridge.
The nine-span, 442-yard grade B-listed structure, which stands on granite piers nearly 145ft above the River Findhorn, has been grit blasted, cleaned, repaired and repainted.
The scaffolding will be removed and the site compound cleared by the end of October.
Jeremy Spence, Network Rail project manager for Findhorn viaduct, said: “We are just about to complete work on what has been a fantastic project to repair and refurbish this spectacular viaduct.
“We take seriously our responsibility to maintain and preserve these historic structures, not just for the safe and efficient operation of the railway, but also how they look in their setting for those travelling on the railway or visitors to the area enjoying the beautiful views.
“It is hard to imagine a more stunning location for a bridge and the experience of working here over the last 18 months has been tremendous.
“It gives you great respect for those who built this structure more than a century ago and we hope that our work on their bridge does justice to the legacy that we have been left by the Victorian railway pioneers.”
To deliver the work safely, a bespoke suspended scaffold system was put in place accessed by two lifts to carry people and materials from ground to bridge level.
The bridge was also “encapsulated” to provide the right working environment in the exposed location as well as to stop any contaminants from leaking into the air and river below – particularly during grit blasting.
The steelwork on the bridge is being painted black to match the original colour using a three coat system which protects the existing and new metal work from corrosion and provides a high quality aesthetic finish.
The refurbishment of the bridge ensures it not need any significant maintenance for about 25 years.
There was also a requirement to deter birds from nesting in the structure at the start of work to avoid delaying the contractors from going on site.
A cast of falcons was enlisted to do this while a nest was built on a section of bridge where no work was planned.
NEARING COMPLETION: The Findhorn viaduct has undergone a major renovation lasting 18 months
MSP John Finnie, left, and manager Neil Harrison
Steam engines go across the viaduct yesterday