John O'Gaunt Viaduct

(Photo 11 © Bluebell Railway Museum Archive/John J Smith collection)

The Great Northern and London & North Western railways opened the southern section of their joint line from Melton Mowbray to the junctions at Welham and Drayton on 15th December 1879. It included a tunnel at East Norton and a viaduct of almost 230 yards over the valley at John O'Gaunt.

With 14 arches rising to a height of around 60 feet, the impressive structure carried its line on a falling gradient to the north. Today it looks rather sorry for itself - the original red brick is badly spalled in places and has seen extensive patching with more durable blue brindles. From a distance, this gives it an unusual mottled appearance. Cosmetically, the viaduct remains in generally poor condition and you are advised not to stand beneath it for too long, nor lean against the stone copings.

Closure came to John O'Gaunt station in 1957 but goods traffic continued to cross the viaduct until 1st June 1964. In January 1985, a Grade II listing was bestowed upon the structure but this was withdrawn in 1999.

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