Heritage Locations

Hownes Gill Viaduct, Consett

In 1858 a graceful viaduct was built to the design of Sir Thomas Bouch across a deep and steep sided gorge, to replace two inclined planes. Listed Grade II*.

Sir Thomas Bouch

Period of construction:
1850 - 1899

Transport Trust plaque:

Transport Mode:

Northern Viaduct Trust, Castle House, Hartley, Kirkby Stephen CA17 4JJ.

CA17 4JJ

Nearest Town:

Heritage Centre:

Hownes Gill is a steep-sided gorge 49 m. (160 ft.) deep and 244 m. (267 yds) wide. The Stanhope and Tyne Railroad could not afford to cross it with a viaduct so they built two inclined planes, formidably steep, one at 1 in 2.5 and the other 1 in 3. Single wagons were carried sideways in cradles worked by a single stationary steam engine located at the bottom of the gorge.

When the railway was bought by the Stockton & Darlington Railway they replaced this astonishing arrangement with a graceful brick viaduct. It has twelve 15 m.(50 ft.) arches on slender piers, with arched recesses in three layers on each side.

The railway closed in 1968 and it is now a footpath.


Biddle, Gordon, Britain's Historic Railway Buildings, Oxford University Press, ISBN-10: 0198662475 (2003)

Biddle, Gordon & Nock, O.S.,
The Railway Heritage of Britain : 150 years of railway architecture and engineering, Studio Editions, ISBN-10: 1851705953 (1990)

Biddle, Gordon and Simmons, J., The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, Oxford, ISBN 0 19 211697 5 (1997)

Bonavia, Michael,
Historic Railway Sites in Britain, Hale, ISBN 0 7090 3156 4 (1987)

Civil Engineering Heritage. Northern England.

Conolly, W. Philip, British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas And Gazetteer, Ian Allan Publishing, ISBN 0-7110-0320-3 (1958/97)

Jowett, Alan, Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland,  Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0086-1. (March 1989)

Morgan, Bryan, Railways: Civil Engineering, Arrow, ISBN 0 09 908180 6 (1973)

Morgan, Bryan, Railway Relics, Ian Allan, ISBN 0 7110 0092 1 (1969)

Simmons, J.,
The Railways of Britain, Macmillan, ISBN 0 333 40766 0 (1961-86)

Simmons, J., The Victorian Railway, Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0 500 25110X (1991)

Smith, Martin, British Railway Bridges and Viaducts, Ian Allan, ISBN 0 7110 2273 9 (1994)

Tominson, W.W., The North Eastern Railway, David & Charles, ISBN-10 0715390023 (1987)

Opening Times:
Visible at all times.

How To Find:
By road: Off the A692 south of Consett.

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