The Viaducts at Chirk and Cefn Mawr
Cefn Viaduct with Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in the distance
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The railway viaduct at Chirk which was erected in 1846-8 and rebuilt in 1858 was the work of the Scottish engineer Henry Robertson. The 100 feet high stone structure was built for the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway and has ten spans with round arches between pedimented abutments containing niches. Three further arches at either end of the viaduct replace former timber spans and are dated 1858-9. The viaduct stands some 30 feet above the adjoining aqueduct.
Chirk Station and Railway
A railway station was established at Chirk in 1846 following the construction of the railway line by the Scottish engineer Henry Robertson. Unfortunately the original stone station building was demolished in 1987 and was replaced that year with the present construction.
1845 was the beginning of the "mania" year for plans to extend the railway system and rival schemes were put forward for lines to join Chester with Shrewsbury.
Promoters of the plan to link Shrewsbury to Ruabon had to work quickly to get their scheme moving. Instructions for the notices and plans were only given on the 7th November and they had to be deposited with the clerk of Peace by the 30th November 1845. Hostility from objecting landowners meant that Robertson had to survey the land by night. One irate squire expressed a wish that someone would 'throw Robertson and his theodolite into the canal'.
Right:- Chirk Viaduct
Henry Robertson told a Parliamentary Committee of the advantage to the district of providing a railway line that would open up the valuable coalfields of Ruabon and Wrexham to markets at Chester, Birkenhead and Liverpool on the north side and to Shrewsbury and other Shropshire towns on the south side. The Parliamentary Committee agreed with him and the bill received Royal Assent on 30th June 1845.
The Shrewsbury and Chester Railway Company made good progress with construction work and the line to Ruabon was opened in November 1846. Henry Robertson completed plans for crossing the River Dee at Cefn Mawr and the railway contractor Thomas Brassey was commissioned to construct the viaduct, taking two years to complete the structure.
The ceremony of keying the last stone of the viaduct was performed by Mr. W.Ormsby Gore on the 14th August 1848 and the railway was opened to connect to Chirk.
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