History of the viaduct
Standing proud just north of Toddington station, Stanway Viaduct has transported passengers across the valley between Toddington and Broadway since 1904.
Acting as the railway's gateway to Worcestershire, this 656 feet long structure spans 15 arches and stands nearly 50 feet high.
Following closure of the original GWR mainline in 1976, Stanway Viaduct lost its track in 1979, seemingly never to see another train again. However, in 2005, intrepid GWSR volunteers, determined to reach Broadway station, re-laid a single track across the viaduct.
Thanks to their determination, Stanway finally carried passengers once again in 2010, with trains initially travelling as far as Laverton before the GWSR reached Broadway in 2018.
The structure was built with a waterproof layer of asphalt below the ballast. Water percolating through the ballast should enter catch pits and then travel via drainage pipes exiting within the arch soffits.
Recent evidence shows that the waterproofing layer has failed and so the structure has suffered from the effects of water penetration over many decades.
Unless this is halted, the structure will continue to deteriorate to a point where it can no longer safely carry the loads and stresses imposed by our trains.
Essential repairs were carried out in 2021 and 2022 but funds did not permit the root cause of water penetration to be fully addressed at that time.
What needs to be done?
The waterproofing needs replacing across the length of the viaduct. This requires the current track and ballast to be removed, allowing a concrete layer to be installed which ensures that water flows towards the catch pits. Two waterproofing layers will then be applied before the ballast and track are replaced.
Phase 1 will cost approximately £300,000 and forms our first milestone, with plans in place to complete this work in Winter 23/24.
In addition to waterproofing the structure, the brickwork damaged by decades of water ingress needs to be repaired.
This includes the spandrels, the arch soffits, the parapets and the brickwork of the nine piers not repaired previously. These works require skilled bricklayers, so the intention is to spread the work over approximately 3 years.
A further challenge during this phase is the provision of safe access to enable the bricklayers to reach all parts of the structure. This will require scaffolding nearly 50 feet in height.
Phase 2 is estimated to total £1.2 million - £400,000 in each of the three years anticipated to be required to complete the work.
The majority of the remedial work on the viaduct will be carried out by specialist contractors working for the GWSR, with the track work being undertaken by the railway's volunteer track maintenance team.
For more information about the damage to Stanway Viaduct and the necessary remedial work, check out our FAQ document.
How you can help
Every donation, big or small, will help us preserve this historic structure.
It is hoped to commence Phase 1 in November 2023 with completion in March 2024.
Subject to successful early funding of Phase 1, the repairing of the brickwork in Phase 2 could start as early as summer 2023.
Ways you can donate
- Head to our online donations portal by clicking here
- Fill out the appeal leaflet and return it to:
Appeal Administrator, GWRT
Winchcombe Railway Station
- Visit our Trust Office at Toddington Station.
If we achieve less than our appeal target, the focus of the repairs will be on Phase 1 (the waterproofing) as this will prevent further deterioration of the viaduct structure.
In the event that the appeal exceeds £1.5 million, excess funds will be ring-fenced for other essential infrastructure works.
All monies donated to the Viaduct Appeal will be held by GWRT in a restricted fund, used to pay invoices provided by contractors to the GWSR.