The Construction of Glenfinnan Viaduct

Familiar to Harry Potter fans the world over, Glenfinnan Viaduct has been wowing visitors since construction was completed in 1901. As part of a wider West Highland Railway extension, the innovative use of concrete at this scale was an industry first and featured in The American Engineering News in 1899.

The construction of Glennfinnan Viaduct forms part of the Mallaig extension of the West Highland Railway. Completed in 1901, the innovative use of concrete on this scale was an industry first.

Standing more than 30 metres high, this magnificent 21-arch viaduct is part of the 64km Fort William to Mallaig extension of the West Highland Railway.

One of a number of structures built along this section of the line, it stands above the Glenfinnan Valley at the head of Loch Shiel, close to where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard of rebellion in 1745.

The numerous railway bridges and viaducts that punctuate the line were built in concrete. It was the first time the material had been used on this scale for such purposed. So innovative was this approach that it caught the attention of The American Engineering News which, in 1899, featured the line's 40m clear span Borrodale Bridge as the longest span bridge built to date. 

Carving a route through the rugged terrain of the remote West Highlands with its many bogs and ravines, was very challenging and involved the construction of numerous cuttings and tunnels in mile after mile of unforgiving rock. The works also included the construction of Mallaig Harbour which still provides a haven for fishermen and a link to the Isle of Skye. 

The railway remains to this day testimony to the spirit skill and determination of all involved.

Project Summary

    • Sector: Infrastructure
    • Location: Scotland
    • Service: Construction Support
    • Completion date: 1901

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A Portrait of Achievement

  1. Festive photograph of Glenfinnan Viaduct in the winter

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