Westfield Viaduct returns to its former glory


28 Feb 2023

This iconic 16-arch viaduct spans the River Avon on the West Lothian and Falkirk border. It has undergone major renovations funded by our Historical Railways Estate (HRE).

Westfield Viaduct returns to its former glory

Works took 18 months to complete. They will ensure that the structure, built in the 1850s, will be preserved for generations to come.

The £2 million programme included:

  • masonry repairs
  • waterproofing
  • installing 19 bat bricks, six bat tubes and two bat boxes

This video captures restoration and repair work in progress at viaduct, situated near the small village of Westfield it was named after.

We conducted two rounds of bat surveys before we started renovation.

We painstakingly investigated dozens of crevices in the masonry for signs of bat activity.  Often this meant abseiling from the viaduct, though we had to use drones for some checks. All the surveys were completed under a NatureScot bat licence.

We fitted any crevices showing signs of bats (or that were to difficult to survey) with excluders. These allow bats to leave but not come back to places that could be dangerous for them.

In areas where we weren't working, we installed temporary roosts, allowing bats to hibernate safely. We've also installed permanent bat roosts in the viaduct as part of our work.

HRE civil engineer Colin McNicol said:

“We are delighted to be breathing life back into this physical reminder of an important part of railway history in Central Scotland and we’re very pleased with how well the work has gone.

“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.”

Westfield Viaduct is one of 3,100 former railway structures that we maintain on behalf of owners, the Department for Transport. It was built between 1854 and 1855.