Great Northern Viaduct – Manchester, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 28.496 W 002° 15.406
30U E 549329 N 5925362
Quick Description: This railway viaduct in the area of Castlefield used to carry goods trains to the Great Northern Warehouse but is now unused.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 5/5/2013 7:42:26 AM
Waymark Code: WMH14V
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member 8Nuts MotherGoose
Views: 1

Long Description:
The Castlefield area of the City of Manchester.
This area is so named because of the remains of a Roman fort in the area.

Manchester was one of the world’s first industrial cities and indeed claims to have started the industrial revolution with the building of the Bridgewater Canal. This canal was the first canal in Britain that did not make use of any existing waterways. It was built by the Duke of Bridgewater to connect his coal mines at Worsley with Manchester and terminated at Castlefield near to the River Medlock. The canal boats were able to carry around ten times more coal than was previously possible by cart. In fact, the canal was so effective that the price of coal in Manchester fell by over half within a year of its opening. This meant that the use of steam power in factories became economically viable.

The Bridgewater canal reached Manchester in 1761 at the Castlefield Basin. It was later extended to provide a link to Liverpool on the west coast. Many factories were built around Castlefield and so the canal started to carry many other goods as well as coal.

In 1799 The Rochdale Canal was joined onto the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield and connected Manchester to Rochdale. By 1804 the Rochdale Canal was extended to Sowerby Bridge and became the first canal that crossed the Pennine Hills. From Sowerby Bridge it was possible to reach Hull on the East coast by use of a number of other linked canals and rivers.

The next stage of Manchester’s development was the arrival of railways in 1830 and there are four separate railway viaducts that cross the Bridgewater Canal and wharves in Castlefield.

During the 20th Century canals and railways declined in use and Castlefield became largely derelict. However in 1982 the area became the first Urban Heritage Park and large parts of the area have now been restored. Apartments, pubs and restaurants have been built on the site and it is now a popular and interesting area to visit and explore.

The railway viaduct
At this spot is one of the four railway viaducts that cross the area. Three of the viaducts stand very close together and this is the northernmost of the three.

It is the 1894 Great Northern viaduct that served the Great Northern Railway's warehouse in Deansgate. The high-level tubular steel viaduct is 330 metres in length and has eight spans. It was built for the Great Northern Railway Company and carried GNR goods trains to the company's Deansgate warehouse until 1963. Richard Johnson who was a Chief Engineer of the GNR was responsible for the design. The viaduct has been disused since the trains stopped running. The viaduct had to be built quite high because it had to cross an older brick built passenger train viaduct.

It was announced in November 2012 that the viaduct may be converted to a high rise park and garden area similar to a converted viaduct in New York. See this Wikipedia page for a fuller description of both Castlefield and all the bridges in the area.

Original Use: Railroad

Date Built: 1894

Construction: Steel

Condition: Fair

See this website for more information: [Web Link]

Date Abandoned: 1963

Bridge Status - Orphaned or Adopted.: Orphaned

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