Mansfield Railway Viaduct
The heritage and beauty of the Heart of the Midlands brings visitors from the world over
Mansfield Railway Viaduct, heritage, beauty and the Heart of the Midlands
One of the most distinctive architectural assets in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire’s second largest town, is undoubtedly its great railway viaduct.
Built in 1875, Mansfield Viaduct is a prime example of Victorian engineering, sweeping through and above the town, carried by 15 huge arches of rough-hewn stone.
Built around 1817-19 and opened to horse traffic before being updated to a standard gauge railway by the Mansfield & Pinxton Railway, along side Kings Mill Reserviour in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. One of the oldest viaducts in the country.
Mansfield Viaduct stands as a testament to Mansfield’s proud industrial age
The viaduct was originally built for the extension of the Midland Railway Company line from Nottingham to Worksop. That spur of the line also includes England’s oldest railway viaduct, at nearby King’s Mill, which was built in 1819, and both viaducts have become something of a Mecca for railway enthusiasts and photographers over the years.
This film belongs to Mansfield Museum and forms part of the Mansfield Heritage Trail.
The line was opened 200 years ago to export Derbyshire's coal to Nottinghamshire.
Prior to its construction, malt, which was one of Mansfield’s main industries at the time, was exported from the town on pack-horses, which returned with coal required for the malt production from the Erewash valley pits.
The Grade II listed landmark, which is 240 metres long and 25 metres high, dominates the town’s skyline. At night, all 15 arches, spanning Church Street and Market Street, are floodlit, which turns it into a real local attraction.
The history of Mansfield Viaduct
Until the middle of the eighteenth century, it was an isolated market town. Its transformation into an industrial urban area resulted from the impact of five crucial industries, all of which relied on the newly-opened railway line to thrive.
The earliest industry noted in Mansfield was stone quarrying, which is documented from around 1227.
There was a growth in farming activities in the 16th and 17th centuries following the founding of the four great estates known as the Dukeries – Worksop Manor, Welbeck Abbey, Thoresby Hall and Clumber House. This led to the development of two crucial industries, malting and framework knitting.
The creation of the Mansfield and Pinxton Railway Line in 1819 eased the town’s isolation. Its railway station opened in 1872, three years prior to the Railway Viaduct opening in 1875, which transformed one of its other industries, malt production.
Passenger trains also started to serve the town at this time.
Mansfield’s ‘Blackpool Tower’
Passenger services on the line ceased in 1964 and the line remained inactive, isolating the town once again, until it was reopened when the Worksop to Nottingham Robin Hood Line was resurrected in 1995.
However, freight trains continued to use the line and the viaduct. This meant that by 2003, more than 100 years of dirt and grime had taken their toll, which is why Mansfield District Council spent more than £200,000 on restoring ten of the viaduct’s arches to their former glory.
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