This line was a latecomer, opening in 1903 and running from Axminster to Lyme Regis. The viaduct was the most significant engineering feature on the line, being one of the earliest examples of using concrete to build this sort of structure in the South of England. Unfortunately, the western end of it subsided just before the line opened as the sandy soil couldn’t bear the weight. Not to be outdone by nature, the engineers built a “jack arch” to support the troublesome end of the viaduct and it still stands to this day. A well known book on the subject published in 1987 claimed that no movement had been detected in the last 80 years. Looking closely at it in 2013, one would conclude that there has been no significant movement for over 105 years, clearly a successful repair then.
The line closed in 1965.
The dip at the western end of the viaduct gave the track the appearance of a switchback or rollercoaster and trains were limited to 25mph as they crossed.
This short film looks closely at the structure as a whole, with distant views from the north and south and close ups from various directions. Particular attention is paid to seeing the inside views of the jack arch and looking along what should have been straight horizontal lines at track bed level to emphasize the subsidence as clearly as possible. Views along the track bed are seen from both ends of the viaduct as are the track bed areas leading up to it.
A stunning testament to the engineering of the day which shows little sign of deterioration is yours to see up close here.
Includes some commentary, when the windy conditions would allow