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Railway Viaduct

A disused railway viaduct runs alongside the western edge of the urban village boundary and, in its time, was considered one of the great engineering feats of the age.

Railway Viaduct: Past

In 1866, in response to the growth of Leeds as a centre of trade and commerce, the railway line from Marsh Lane was extended across the town centre to a new station at Wellington Street. In 1869 T. E. Harrison, engineer for the North Western Railway, built a 1500 yard viaduct over the river and canal and up to the city station. The viaduct is thought to be one of the great feats of Victorian civil engineering.

“The new viaduct is an undertaking which will rank among the many great engineering feats in the annals of railway enterprise.”

Leeds Newspapers 1869

Completed in 1882, the viaduct extends from Globe Road to Gerald Road connecting into the city station network. It is a construction of masonry arches with six metal bridge sections spanning highways and railway track. The viaduct boasts 85 arches, three accommodation bridges and six under-bridges and fly-over passes.

Railway Viaduct: Present

At present the upper level of the viaduct lies unused and overgrown, while the arches below are currently being used for light industrial use and storage. In its current form, the viaduct itself represents a physical and visual barrier from Holbeck Urban Village to the city centre.

Railway Viaduct: Future

Following the example of similar regeneration schemes in Paris and New York, it is hoped that part of the viaduct can be made into a skywalk that connects the urban village to the city centre. Footpaths and cycle routes would provide links not only to the north and into the city centre, but also to the south and Elland Road football ground.

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