Known as Alston Arches, this attractive viaduct at Haltwhistle crosses the South Tyne and opened to goods traffic, with the first section of the Alston branch, in March 1851. At this time, the line terminated at Shaft Hill, later renamed Coanwood.
Four segmental skew arches span the river; two more allow uninterrupted passage along both river banks. The structure is approached by substantial embankments at each end and incorporates a tight curve to the south as well as a 1 in 100 upwards gradient.
Those piers in the river are equipped with cutwaters and, except for the one on the south bank, all have arches cut through them. Their purpose is uncertain but they are most likely to have been a means of reducing the structure’s loading on its foundations, which are supported on wooden piles. There is no evidence to confirm the theory that a footbridge was going to be threaded through them.
The viaduct last took the strain of a train on 3rd May 1976. In April 2003, listed building consent was given for the installation of a drainage system, waterproof deck and new handrail. HRH Duke of Gloucester cut the ribbon on a footpath across the structure in July 2006.