North Tyneside viaduct to be modernised after Metro inspection

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The Howdon viaduct has carried Metro’s for 40 years.

A historic railway bridge which carries Metro users across North Tyneside is undergoing specialist inspections ahead of modernisation plans.

The Howdon viaduct is being inspected as part of a major track replacement scheme which will renew the track across the 320-metre viaduct which spans the Willington Gut, linking east Newcastle with North Tyneside.

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Specially trained engineers donned harnesses and used ropes to scale the 80ft structure to conduct the inspection of its wrought iron arches.

Built in the 1830s, Howdon viaduct has carried Metro trains for 40 years.

Sarah McManus, head of renewals at Nexus, said: “Howdon viaduct is one of the most important and iconic structures on the Metro network, carrying scores of Metro trains each and every day.

“We’ve been conducting these at height inspections so that we can explore how we’re going to renew the tracks that run across the viaduct over the next few years, which will represent a major investment in Metro infrastructure.

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“The work has involved specially trained civil engineers climbing up on to the super structure to assess the condition of the wrought iron. This will be fed into a detailed planning process as we look at the best options for a track replacement project.

“It’s the type of work that requires the inspectors to have a real head for heights. The team that we brought in did an amazing job despite working in some terrible weather conditions. They have experience of working on railway bridges all over the country, most notably the iconic Forth Bridge in Scotland.”

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