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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:
HB21/10/001 A

Extent of Listing:

Date of Construction:
1920 - 1939

Address :
Railway Viaduct (1) Bleach Green Junction Newtownabbey Co Antrim BT37


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
14/03/1989 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J3535 8345

Owner Category


Exterior Description And Setting

A curved 13-span concrete viaduct carrying the double line Belfast-Londonderry railway over the Three Mile Water (here known as Valentine's Glen). It is of painted reinforced-concrete throughout, all cast in situ. The south most span has a horizontal slab deck head and carries the Belfast-Larne line through it at a highly skewed angle. The edge of the slab is inscribed 'LMS 1933 NCC' to both faces. The remaining 12 spans are of segmental profile and equal width. The two at the south end are blank as their 'infill' walls enclose the burrowing Larne line. The three arches across the deepest part of the valley are the widest; the south one spans the actual river. These arches have hollow spandrels in which two vertical slabs extend upwards from the extrados to underside of the deck on both sides of their crowns. These arches also have advanced piers which extend up to parapet level as pedestrian refuges. There are falsework sockets along the base of the piers to these three arches. The remaining arches have solid spandrels with banded rustication. This banding also continues around the top of each arch (and also signifies the depth of the arch cast) and around the piers. The parapets have been cast with vertically fluted panels along their outside faces and string course along their base. Cantilevered pedestrian refuges project from the parapets above each of the piers. There are advanced terminal piers at both ends of the viaduct.


Wallace W.K

Historical Information

When the Belfast-Ballymena railway was opened in 1848, the line ran via Greenisland in order to avoid the expense of constructing a massive viaduct over the valley of the Three Mile Water (here known as Valentine's Glen). This dogleg necessitated reversing trains between Greenisland and Antrim and added to the journey time. In the early 1930s, the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (Northern Counties Committee) embarked on the construction of a viaduct across the glen in order to cut out the Greenisland detour and reduce the journey time by 20-25 minutes. The Greenisland Loop Scheme, as it was known, entailed the construction of this and four other bridges at the Whiteabbey end and four en route to Monkstown. The project cost £250,000 (approx £12m in today's values) and was directed by the NCC's Resident Engineer W.K. Wallace. It was also a job creation scheme, taking 550 men off social security. This viaduct was constructed between 1931 and 1933 to carry both tracks of the Belfast-Londonderry railway. The same line is also carried over the Glenville Road, a short distance to the south, on a single-span concrete bridge (HB21/10/001D). The line opened in January 1934. The Antrim line was closed to passengers in 1978. In 1999, Translink began work on reopening it. This entailed repairing all the bridges and laying a new track. Work on this particular viaduct included blast cleaning, repairs to the concrete, waterproofing and painting. The line reopened in June 2001. References - Secondary sources: 1. Hamond, F.W. 'Railway Bridges, Bleach Green Junction, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim' (NIEA Listed Building record HB21/10/001, December 1994). 2. Translink. 'Antrim - Bleach Green: Rebirth of a Railway Line' (Belfast, 2001).

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form F. Structural System J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

V. Authorship W. Northern Ireland/International Interest Z. Rarity


This railway viaduct bears the distinctive utilitarian style of the LMS (NCC) and is an impressive feature of the landscape hereabouts. It was part of the 1930s Greenisland Loop Scheme, the largest civil engineering project of its day in Britain and Ireland and which also brought much needed employment to the area during its construction. This viaduct is on par with Bessbrook and Randalstown in terms of its scale and massing and also illustrates the new technology of reinforced-concrete, albeit in mimicry of its masonry antecedents. It is also adjacent to a slightly smaller viaduct (HB21/10/001B) and is functionally associated with three single-span bridges across the Glenville Road a short distance to the south (HB21/10/001C-E).

General Comments

Date of Survey

23 November 2008