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Leaderfoot Viaduct

Nineteen span brick arched viaduct over the River Tweed

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Leaderfoot, Melrose, Scottish Borders TD6 9DQ

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About Leaderfoot Viaduct

Leaderfoot Viaduct is a railway viaduct over the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders. UK. It is situated 2.5 km east of Melrose at Lowood. The hamlet of Leaderfoot lies at the foot of the valley of Lauderdale and is the location where Leader Water joins the River Tweed. A Roman bridge once crossed the Tweed here, conveying Dere Street nortyh from the nearby fort of Trimontium. Today, three bridges cross the river at this location - the former Drygrange Road Bridge (1865), the Leaderfoot Railway Viaduct and a modern road bridge carrying the A68 (1973).

The nineteen span brick arched viaduct was opened on November 16, 1863 to carry the Berwickshire Railway, which connected Reston (on the East Coast Main Line between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh) with St Boswells (on the Edinburgh to Carlisle "Waverley Line"), via Duns and Greenlaw. The engineers of the railway were Charles Jopp and Wylie & Peddie.

The arches, each of 13 meters (43 ft) span, are of brickwork, and the abutments, piers and walls are of rustic-faced red sandstone. Some later strengthening of the abutments and piers with old rails and buttresses on the southern valley side is very obvious.

The railway was severed by flooding during August 1948, after which passenger trains never ran west of Duns. Freight trains continued to run across the viaduct as far as Greenlaw until July 19, 1965.

The viaduct's listing was upgraded to Grade 1 in 1986 and remains in good condition. It was renovated by Historic Scotland between 1992 and 1995. Good views of it can be obtained from Drygrange Bridge and the modern A68 road bridge immediately downriver. The viaduct is not formally open to the public, although access to the bridge is straightforward.

Photos: Wikipedia Commons, John Yellowlees with thanks

By road: Off A68

By rail: The viaduct is 4 km from Tweedbank Station

Books Llc, Bridges in the Scottish Borders: Union Bridge, Coldstream Bridge, Dryburgh Bridge, Leaderfoot Viaduct, Ladykirk and Norham Bridge, Tweed Bridge, Books Llc, ISBN-10: 1158348258 (2010)

Burman, Peter & Sratton, Michael, Conserving The Railway Heritage, Taylor & Francis, ISBN-10: 0419212809 (1996)

Mullay, Alexander, Rails Across the Border, NPI Media Group, ISBN-10: 075243666X (2006)

Paxton, Roland & Ruddock, Ted, A Heritage of Bridges Between Edinburgh, Kelso and Berwick, Institution of Civil Engineers, Edinburgh and East of Scotland Association, ASIN: B001OPGJZ0 (1980)

Paxton, Roland & Shipway, Jim, Civil Engineering Heritage, Scotland: Lowlands and Borders, Thomas Telford Ltd,  ISBN-10: 0727734474 (2007)

Stansfield, Gordon, Lost Railways of the Scottish Borders, Stenlake Publishing, ISBN-10: 1840330848 (1999)

National Transport Trust, Old Bank House, 26 Station Approach, Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey KT10 0SR