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Hengoed Viaduct

The Hengoed Viaduct is also known as the Maesycwmmer Viaduct but was originally referred to as the Rhymney Viaduct. Whichever name you prefer, it is one of Wales’ most striking monuments of railway engineering and one of the oldest surviving viaducts of its type, an impressive landmark which has dominated the landscape of the Mid Rhymney Valley for over 150 years. Consisting of 16 arches towering 120 feet high at its highest point and 284 yards long, the Hengoed viaduct is slightly curved where the first arch on the eastern side was constructed at a skewed angle to accommodate the ‘lower level’ station for the Brecon and Merthyr main line that passed beneath it along the Rhymney Line in the Rhymney valley, South Wales. This route runs north from Cardiff to Heath, Llanishen, via a tunnel through Caerphilly mountain, onto Caerphilly, Hengoed and Rhymney.

This major structure on the ex-Rhymney Valley line was built to carry the Taff Vale Railway probably designed by T. W. Kennard to Charles Liddell's specifications, the contractors employed to carry out the work were Messrs Rennie and Logan who began work on this masonry structure mid 1853. The Hengoed viaduct was the last major project for the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway to complete the "Taff Vale Extension" before the line was opened in 1858. The final cost was one fatal accident during its construction and £20,000.00 (an equivalent sum of money at 2013 would be £1.9M!). After the line closure in 1964, the Hengoed viaduct was offered for sale at a nominal sum of one pound (£1.00!) and is now owned by Railway Paths Ltd .


Railway Paths Ltd hold numerous parcels of former railway land, including over 700 bridges, viaducts and tunnels across the UK. Its’ remit is to develop these formations for walking and cycling routes in order to maintain their continuity for future public transport purposes. The Hengoed viaduct was opened for public access in 2000 and provides spectacular views when crossing the valley. More recently, the Hengoed viaduct became part of the National Cycle Network, the Celtic Trail, which provides a (mostly) traffic free cycle route from Quakers Yard to Newport. The grade 2* listed status of the Hengoed viaduct puts it, along with the so-called Nine-Arch Viaduct at Tredegar, as one of the two listed viaducts in Wales.


Hengoed viaduct

In April 2004, the Heritage Lottery Fund gave the Hengoed Viaduct a new lease of life thanks to a grant of £870,000.00 from the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales. An extensive programme of refurbishment has taken place to secure and improve the future of the Hengoed Viaduct including repairing and repointing to the pier bases, parapets and arches, as well as repairs to the remains of Hengoed ‘High Level’ Station at the western end of the viaduct. Works have improve public access and safety, with new fencing, viewing platforms and the installation of lighting.

further reading
Crumlin viaduct on Hengoed viaduct!
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Celtic Trail - Hengoed

Last modified:  Monday 25th August 2014 01:57pm