Heartland - Petra's Scotland pages

Glenfinnan viaduct

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Glenfinnan viaductGlenfinnan viaductGlenfinnan viaduct was constructed by the famous rail and road engineer Robert McAlpine ("Concrete Bob") from July 1897 - October 1898 at a cost of £ 18,904 as part of the Fort William to Mallaig extension of the West Highland Railway (the Iron Road to the Isles - Rathad Iarainn nan Eilean).

The 416 yards (376 m) long viaduct was built of mass concrete (the new building material for railway building at that time), it comprises 21 arches, the tallest of them is 30 metres high above the River Finnan Valley.

It was constructed on a 201 metres radius curve (as can be seen on the following photos:

Glenfinnan viaduct
Glenfinnan viaduct
Glenfinnan viaduct

The Jacobite steam train runs during the summer months (May - October) from Fort William to Mallaig.

On its way the train passes Glenfinnan station, where you should spend a visit to the picturesque Railway museum. The museum is open daily from June to September from 9.30 until 16.30 with an exhibition and display featuring the history and development of the West Highland Line from 1889. I can really recommend visiting this small interesting museum with many authentic exhibits and a special atmosphere.

Glenfinnan viaduct
Jacobite steam train
Glenfinnan station and museum
steam train on its way from Mallaig to Fort William
The Jacobite at Fort William station
Glenfinnan station and museum

You might also have recognised the Glenfinnan viaduct and the Jacobite steam train (Hogwart's Express) in the Harry Potter film "The chamber of secrets" (2002).

In February 2003, while filming another Harry Potter movie ("Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban") a spark from the train seemed to have managed to set fire to almost 50 acres of heather moorland and trees near the viaduct. Fortunately nobody was hurt.


Inscript of the plaque:


This outstanding viaduct, a pioneer work in mass concrete,
was constructed
July 1897 - October 1898 at a cost of £ 18.904
Plaque unveiled 12 July 1997
The Hon. Sir William McAlpine, Bt.

Sponsors: Institution of Civil Engineers, Sir Robert McAlpine Limited, Railtrack PLC, Railway Heritage Trust


memorial plaque at Glenfinnan viaduct
useful links:
Jacobite steam train
Glenfinnan station museum

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