Project profile: Crigglestone Viaduct

Standing over a West Yorkshire village and woodland at more than 80 feet high, the viaduct underwent a major programme of maintenance work which began in autumn 2022.

Project profile: Crigglestone Viaduct

Location: Calder Grove, Wakefield

Contractor: Amco Giffen

Status: Not open to the public


The brick-built structure consists of 21 arches, spanning 1,207 ft. It carried the Midland Railway as part of its eight-mile route from Royston Junction to Thornhill. The route connected with the Lancashire & Yorkshire's railway network at Thornhill Junction. 

This route played a role in the building of the M1 in the 1960s. Trains carried materials to the site of the motorway until summer 1968, when the western end of the line was closed. The eastern end had already been closed in May of that year.  

About the structure

Crigglestone Viaduct, also known as the Midland Railway viaduct at Calder Grove, is located three miles south west of Wakefield. The most easterly arch of the viaduct sits over the existing Wakefield-Barnsley line.

Under the central section was Pepper's Yard British Oak site and the line serving the old Flockton Collieries which extracted coal from the easy-to-access seams in the area. Also in the shadow of the viaduct was the former Horbury West curve, known as Crigglestone curve, which ran from Crigglestone Junction to Horbury Station Junction. End-to-end, the viaduct spans a whopping 1,270 feet.

What is the project?

Our structures are inspected yearly by a team of skilled engineers, which helps us to plan work well in advance and ensure that the most critical tasks are prioritised.

Excessive vegetation had started to grow through mortar on sections of the viaduct, which had resulted in brickwork starting to become dislodged. We needed to remove the vegetation so it remained safe and in good condition for the future.

Works include fixing fractures, repointing areas around the parapets, as well as graffiti clearance.

Alongside our repair work we’ve helped protect some of the wildlife that calls the area home, with the installation of six new bat boxes on the structure.

Further work was undertaken in September 2023. These works included the removal of vegetation above a live railway line under span 1 of the viaduct with the approval of Network Rail. Repointing was completed on all open joints as well as some brickwork replacement. Work had to be completed at nighttime to avoid disruption to trains that run between Wakefield and Barnsley.

Working on Crigglestone Viaduct at night

(Working on Crigglestone Viaduct at night)

Repointing work on the Crigglestone Viaduct

(Repointing work on the Crigglestone Viaduct)

Repointing work under the bridge

(Repointing work under the bridge)

View from the top of the viaduct

(View from the top of the viaduct)

Roped worker installing new bat tubes

(Roped worker installing new bat tubes)

Close up image of new tubes Two Common pipistrelle bats were found living between bricks

(Left: close up image of new tubes. Right: Two Common pipistrelle bats were found living between bricks.)

What stage is it at?

Work was completed in September 2023.

"This is a hugely important project and we’re really proud of the hard work that the engineers have done to restore this piece of local history. Damage from excessive tree growth is common on our structures, so it’s important we carry out regular clearance to maintain these structures for future generations."
HRE Civil Engineer Muhammad Musa