Newmilns Viaduct

(Photo 9 © RCAHMS Aerial Photography Collection)

The Glasgow Paisley Kilmarnock & Ayr Railway inaugurated services on a short branch to Galston on 9th August 1848, leaving its main line at Hurlford, 3½ miles to the west. The Glasgow & South Western extended the branch to Newmilns in May 1850. Following a 46-year hiatus, the town of Darvel was served from 1st June 1896. A through route - delivered jointly by the G&SW and Caledonian companies - connected Darvel to Strathaven in 1904 but this never proved commercially successful, resulting in the closure of its central portion in 1939.

On the south-east side of Newmilns, the section to Darvel included a sandstone viaduct of 26 segmental brick arches. This was built by Kilmarnock-based contractors Boyd & Forrest under the supervision of William Melville, engineer to the G&SW. Work on it started in the autumn of 1893 with the demolition of several buildings, including the local school house. Extending for 345 yards, the viaduct incorporates spans of 26-39 feet; at the west end, a skew span of 71 feet - comprising nine brick rings - carried the line over the River Irvine. From the east, it initially curves to the south on a radius of about 20 chains, before straightening on its approach to the river. On both sides, refuges are corbelled out from the spandrels whilst cast iron handrails are mounted on the parapets from end to end. Downpipes feature on the south elevation. To the north, a series of telegraph poles stand adjacent.

Whilst not particularly high, this is a structure with considerable presence, largely due to its location within the town - running alongside a new housing development, bisecting parkland and crossing Union Street near its eastern end. A Grade B listing was bestowed on it in 1971. Although the deck is fenced-off, a number of arches have been converted for storage purposes or use as industrial units.

The line to Darvel - including that part over the viaduct - closed on 6th July 1964.

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