Rail franchises operators & contracts

16.01.20

£1.7m investment from Network Rail to protect famous viaduct

The viaduct which was been featured in the Harry Potter series, is the latest Network Rail project. Work has begun the protect the railway from possible landslips and rock-falls from the hillsides and embankments.

£1.7m has been invested by Network Rail to protect the iconic Glenfinnan viaduct to extract loose vegetation from the slopes above the railway and install rock netting which will protect the line that runs between Mallaig and Fort William.

The new instalments will protect 14 rock cuttings over a two and a half mile stretch of single-track railway between Lochelside and Lochailort encompassing both Glenfinnan station and viaduct. It will improve the resilience and dependability of this line for regular passenger services.

The project will also mean a renewal of sections of boundary fencing to protect the thousands of visitors to the area who follow the tourist path up the hillside to get better views of the monument, mountains and viaduct, and to stop them from putting themselves at risk straying onto the railway.

Before the installation of the rock netting, dangerous trees on the slopes above railway will be cut down before a specialist abseil team removes smaller vegetarian and debris from the rock-face.

Top and bottom anchors are drilled and grouted into the hillside before the metal mesh is put in place. On some sections of higher risk of rock fall, this mesh is high-tensile to give further protection.

Network Rail’s project manager for the work around the viaduct, Diane Jones, said: “The work on the line between Fort William and Mallaig is part a wider maintenance programme which identifies areas prone to land-slip or rock fall and proactively works to protect the railway from this.

“With an ever-growing number of tourists visiting the area, it is important that we deliver these works out-with the main tourist season, where possible, or in the evenings so people can continue to get to Glenfinnan by rail.

“Doing this proactively to protect the railway reduces the likelihood of having to carry-out costly emergency repairs but more importantly, it helps avoid any potential closure of this key rural route which is a lifeline connection for passenger and freight.”

Image: Network Rail 

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