Rothbury branch culverts

(All photos © Alison Phillips)

Whilst viaducts and tunnels grab our attention with their scale, they are not the only noteworthy feats crafted by Victorian engineers.

Culverts are used to channel water courses; in a railway context, they generally pass through the foot of embankments. Those built today are rarely more than concrete or steel tubes, but that wasn't the case in the 19th century - they were more akin to miniature tunnels.

The Rothbury branch in Northumberland provides some fine examples - the three captured in these photographs are all within a mile of Fontburn Viaduct. Their portals have wing walls; their interiors are lined in masonry; their dimensions are generally determined by the volume and flow of the water they are designed to manage.

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Sept 11

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