£71,800 award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has kick-started the Severn Valley Railway’s (SVR) project to carry out essential restoration work to the photogenic seven-arch Falling Sands Viaduct, near Kidderminster.
The 141-year-old structure dates from 1877 and carries the railway 64ft above the River Stour and the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal conservation area. However, age has caught up with the viaduct, with water ingress causing significant erosion, to the point where the SVR imposed a 20mph speed restriction over it.
Restoration work is expected to cost in the region of £1.26million.
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The HLF award is development funding to help the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust (SVRCT) progress its plans to apply for a full grant of £1m later this year, likely around September.
If successful the funding will enable the railway to secure the long-term future of the viaduct, but also engage a wider audience for the railway, encouraging an appreciation and understanding of local heritage and structural engineering by highlighting the part played by the SVR in the area’s social and industrial history.
Read more in the April issue of The RM – on sale now!