Heritage Locations

Hewenden Viaduct

One of the highest railway viaducts in Britain.


Period of construction:
1850 - 1899

Transport Trust plaque:

Transport Mode:

Hewenden, Bradford, BD13 5BP

BD13 5BP

Nearest Town:

Heritage Centre:

In the early 1870s the Great Northern Railway was making extensions to its system and was keen to reach Keighley from its outposts at Bradford and Halifax. This involved major engineering works across the watershed of the Aire and Calder rivers.

Among the peculiarities of the line were the 2,28 km Queensbury tunnel, the 963 m Clayton tunnel, and the 940 m. Strines cutting. At Queensbury where the three lines met, the station with its triangular arrangement of tracks was built out over the steep hillside. North of Queensbury, on the line to Keighley across the Hewenden valley, one of the highest viaducts in Britain was built. Because of its hilly nature, the line was known as the 'Alpine Route'.

Hewenden Viaduct with 17 arches each of 15 m (50 ft) span is 344 m long but 37 m (123 ft) high. Furthermore it was necessary to dig the foundations to the same depth as the height in order to find stability in sandy soil. Built of stone, it is a fine sight, being on a slight curve betwen hills.

It is now part of the Great Northern Railway Trail for cyclists and walkers.


Bairstow, M. The Great Northern Railway in West Yorkshire. Skipton. (1982)

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)

Joy, D. A Regional History of the Railways of Britain, South and West Yorkshire. ISBN 0 7153 6883 4 (1975)

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)

Whitaker, A. and Cryer, R., The Queensbury Lines, Dalesman, ISBN-10 0852068076 (1984)

Opening Times:

Permanently viewable

How To Find:
By road: Can be viewed from B6144 south east of Cullingworth. It is on the Great Northern Railway Trail.

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