Print of Yarm at Sunset. This is an Aerial Photo of Yarm at Sunset showing the Yarm Viaduct, High Street and River

A 175-year-old commemorative plaque on the Yarm Viaduct has been restored. The restoration is part of a larger project to strengthen and maintain the Grade-II listed structure, a collaboration between Network Rail and the Railway Heritage Trust (RHT).

The project, which began in November 2023, aims to keep the viaduct safe and reliable for passenger and freight trains. Work is anticipated to finish in the winter of 2024.

The Plaque Before The Works. Photo: Network Rail

Community Involvement

The plaque restoration was prompted by concerns from the Yarm community about vegetation obscuring the historic marker. Network Rail responded quickly, clearing the vegetation and restoring the plaque.

“We are delighted that we’ve been able to work with the Railway Heritage Trust to restore this 175-year-old piece of history closer to its former glory,” said Sean Ellerby, Scheme Project Manager for Network Rail. “While our work primarily focuses on making sure our rail network is safe and reliable for passengers, we try to take every opportunity we can to restore important and valued pieces of railway history such as Yarm Viaduct’s plaque, dating back to 1849.”

The plaque commemorates the key figures responsible for the construction of the Yarm Viaduct. Thomas Grainger and John Bourne were the lead engineers on the project, known for their extensive work on railway infrastructure across Britain. Joseph Dixon served as the superintendent, overseeing the execution of the engineers’ designs. Trowsdale, Jackson and Garbutt were the contractors responsible for the viaduct’s physical construction. The date 1849 marks the year of the viaduct’s completion.

The Plaque After The Works. Photo: Network Rail

Project Details

The viaduct restoration project involves strengthening 14 piers, including de-vegetation, excavation, and concrete underpinning. Piling will begin in July, with methods chosen to minimise noise for nearby residents. Additionally, key areas of the stonework will undergo masonry repairs.

Network Rail is also collaborating with the Yarm Wellness Centre to transform two arches under the viaduct into a community garden and seating area once the restoration work is complete.

“We are pleased to have supported the work on Yarm Viaduct with a grant to restore the plaque,” said Tim Hedley-Jones, Director of the Railway Heritage Trust. “It is a testament to the skill of those who designed and built this structure that it still fulfils the function for which it was constructed, after completion in 1852.”