South Esk Viaduct (1881-)
Opened on the North British, Arbroath and Montrose Railway.
This is a single track 16 span girder viaduct crossing the northern of two channels from Montrose Basin, the southern of which has been infilled. The viaduct links Montrose, to the north, to Rossie Island.
The line was under construction as part of the North British Railway's new East Coast route to Aberdeen when the then new Tay Bridge [1st], designed by Thomas Bouch collapsed in late December 1879.
Bouch was the engineer of this line. The viaduct replaces his viaduct of 30 spans - wrought iron girders and cast iron piers - which was essentially complete in late 1879. Following the collapse of the Tay Bridge various alterations were made under Bouch's instructions.
The viaduct was then used during the line construction by the contractor. It was noted that the permanent way was displaced and on investigation some girders were not resting on their piers. Several piers were found to have sunk.
It was tested in December 1880 by the Board of Trade, inspected by Col. Yolland. The 24th pier from the south was loaded with around 110 tons of rails and a rolling load of 85 tons run over this section. After 36 hours the pier was found to have sunk over 2 inches. With the foundations in question further piers were tested in similar fashion and survived intact. A possible alteration to the foundations was considered.
It was observed that the contractor failed to place the piles in straight lines and ensure the columns were perpendicular. The use of cast iron columns, similar to those on the Tay Bridge, was of concern.
Col. Yolland concluded
As the result of my examination, I should therefore recommend that this viaduct should be reconstructed, and for a double line of railway, with the permanent way placed inside plate, lattice or bowstring girders, so as to obtain some security against a train or portion of a train bring hurled over the edge of the viaduct, if an accident occured on it, and that these girders should be supported on substantial piers not constructed of small and slight cast-iron columns.
Bridge of Dun
North Water Bridge Halt
[Brechin West Junction]
Other railway and industry locations
South Esk Viaduct
Montrose West Quay
Montrose Wet Dock
Montrose Shed [CR]
Montrose Shed [NBR]
Montrose [CR] Timber Yard
Montrose North Junction
Usan Signal Box
House of Dun
|Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.|