Saltburn Railway Viaduct
Walkers that venture beyond the edge of Riftswood and down the Old Marske Mill Lane stumble upon one of Saltburn’s hidden gems: a spectacular redbrick viaduct.
Towering 150 foot above the valley floor Saltburn Viaduct is a magnificent Grade II listed brick-built structure that effortlessly spans 783 feet gap in eleven monumental arched spans.
Henry Pease’s line had terminated at Saltburn in 1861, but Parliament was again petitioned and in 1866 granted permission to form the Whitby, Redcar and Middlesbrough Union Railway (WRMU) to extend the line to the ironstone mines that were bearing fruit further south.
The first stage of this extension was the crossing of Skelton beck by the Saltburn Viaduct, which commenced in 1866. The viaduct was likely designed the Thomas Elliot Harrison, Chief Engineer of the NER, and it took six years to complete opening on 1st June 1872.
Closure & Re-Opening
Although the line was originally designed principally for goods it was opened to passenger traffic in 1875. However, with the Saltburn Viaduct as an exception, the line suffered from poor construction quality and it was closed to passenger traffic in 1951.
Seven years later in 1958 British Rail, facing a bill of £58,000 for essential repairs to the viaducts, petitioned the government for permission to close the line entirely. The line was officially closed on 5th May 1958.
In 1969 the shaft was sunk for the Boultby Potash Mine and it was decided once production began at the mine in 1973 to re-open the line as far as Boultby to freight, principally to service the newly opened mine.
In 2007 Network Rail employed May Gurney to carry out essential maintenance work on the viaduct, which remains in use today as the principle supply line to the Boulby Potash Mine. They carried out repairs to the brickwork, four of the piers and three arch soffits.
The Skelton leg of the Cleveland Way passes directly under the Saltburn Viaduct as it begins its loop through Saltburn and back down the North Yorkshire Coast.