Ribblehead viaduct with a Network Rail worker in the foreground

Restoration works see iconic rail infrastructure recreated digitally

As restoration works continue to be carried out on the iconic Ribblehead viaduct in North Yorkshire, as part of the £2.1m Great North Rail Project investment, the regional landmark has been carefully 3D-mapped by laser scanners and drones.

Using the data captured during a LiDAR survey of the viaduct and drone flights to take high definition photos, surveyors were able to build a highly-detailed 3D model of the Grade II-listed structure.

The 144-year-old structure, which carries the Settle to Carlisle railway across the Ribble valley, is currently undergoing an essential upgrade to brickwork and drainage. The works are expected to be underway until February 2021, though with no major disruptions expected for passengers.

The digital reconstruction will now assist engineers in making repairs during the current works, as well as facilitating the close monitoring of any areas which may need further attention in the future.

Phil James, Network Rail’s North West Route Director, said: “We’re always looking to innovate on the railway and seeing drones and lasers being used to care for such an historic structure is really impressive.

“I was at Ribblehead viaduct when we started work a week ago and saw for myself the huge scaffolding platforms now in place so my team can improve brickwork, mortar and drainage.

“[There is] Great care and attention going in to making sure our work is right from a heritage perspective.

“This digital model plays a major role in that as we secure the Grade II listed-structure’s future for passengers and tourists as part of the Great North Rail Project.”

The impressive 3D footage of the Victorian viaduct was released by Network Rail:

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