Historical Railways Estate schemes in running for national award


13 Oct 2023

The finalists for the National Railway Heritage Awards have been announced and include two of our extensive restoration schemes.

Historical Railways Estate schemes in running for national award

Two of our standout restoration schemes have been shortlisted in a national railway heritage competition.

Teviot Viaduct’s footbridge in the Scottish Borders and the 16-arch Westfield Viaduct on the West Lothian and Falkirk border have made it through to the finals of the National Railway Heritage Awards (NRHA) following extensive renovations.

Both projects, which were praised for the quality of workmanship and attention to detail, will find out if they are winners in December.

Our Head of the Historical Railways Estate (HRE) Helene Rossiter said:

“We are thrilled that two of our schemes have been shorted listed for NRHA Awards.

“A huge amount of planning and work went into ensuring these restoration and repair projects were delivered safely and sensitively and we are proud of the final results.”

The Teviot Viaduct footbridge, which opened in 1850, is normally supported on the north side of the viaduct but at the end of 2020 the three spans were dismantled and taken to Barnsley-based contractors AmcoGiffen for specialist attention.

The wrought-iron bridge was then dismantled into almost 500 small pieces and, after many months of painstaking work, rebuilt like a giant jigsaw before being transported back to site.

HRE civil engineer Colin McNicol said:

“Teviot Viaduct footbridge had been badly impacted by flooding as well as general decay and without major repairs and renovations it would have become unsafe to use.

“It wasn’t a quick or easy renovation project, but it was very worthwhile and we’re incredibly proud of what has been achieved.”

A detailed £2 million programme at Westfield Viaduct included masonry repairs, waterproofing and the installation of 19 bat bricks, six bat tubes and two bat boxes.

The work took 18 months to complete and ensures that the structure, built in the 1850s, will be preserved for many generations to come.

Colin added:

“The viaduct had numerous issues that needed attention to ensure it remained safe and in good order and the work that has been completed makes any future plans to reopen the viaduct as an active travel route for pedestrian, cyclist and other users a real possibility.

“To have two schemes shortlisted for these awards is a great honour and we are delighted that both are being recognised for the standard of work and commitment to preserving an important part of our railway heritage.”

Chairman of the National Railway Heritage Awards Andy Savage MBE said:

"We have been delighted to welcome the HRE as a sponsor of the Awards for the last couple of years, so it is really good to see some of the work that the HRE has carried out reaching a sufficient standard to be shortlisted in our annual Awards. I look forward to announcing the winners on 6 December."

The HRE is a collection of over 3,100 structures and assets which were once part of Britain's rail network.

Since 2013 we've been responsible for looking after it on behalf of the Department for Transport. Many of the structures were built more than 100 years ago.

The National Railway Heritage Awards are dedicated to encouraging and rewarding best practice in the re-use, restoration and continued upkeep of our rich heritage of railway and tramway buildings and structures.

The awards began in 1979 and was initially focused on the heritage railway preservation movement. Since Privatisation in the 1990s, the Awards have broadened to encompass the infrastructure of the national rail network and entries from the national sector now form a substantial part.