Cannington Viaduct

(Photos 1-8 © Andrew King,
photo 9 © Bluebell Railway Museum Archive/Colin Hogg collection)

The Axminster & Lyme Regis Light Railway was authorised in 1899, built from 1900 and opened in 1903.

Close to the village of Uplyme, it was carried by Cannington Viaduct which was something of a pioneer, being one of the first to be constructed from massed concrete. It comprises ten elliptical arches on tall, slightly battered rectangular piers with projecting blocks at impost level. Concrete parapets with recessed panels give ways to refuges over the piers.

The westernmost arch has exposed brick whilst the third arch from the west end has been reinforced by an infilling of two tied brick structures which are themselves arched. They are said to date from the time of construction - a consequence of subsidence.

The line should have been the subject of a Board of Trade inspection on 18th May 1903 but this had to be postponed because heavy rains had caused damage to the structure. A train carrying local dignitaries finally christened the line on 24th August 1903.

The branch was succumbed to Beeching's Axe on the 29th November 1965. but the viaduct survived and is now protected by a Grade II listing.

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