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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:
HB21/10/001 B

Extent of Listing:

Date of Construction:
1920 - 1939

Address :
Railway Viaduct (2) Bleach Green Junction Newtownabbey Co Antrim BT37

Jordanstown; Whiteabbey

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:
J3538 8346

Owner Category

Public Body

Exterior Description And Setting

A seven-arch concrete viaduct carries the Belfast-Larne railway over the Three Mile Water (here known as Valentine's Glen). It is of painted reinforced-concrete throughout, all cast in situ. The arches are of segmental profile and embellished with a banded reveal over (which signifies the depth of the arch cast). The middle arch spans the actual river and is wider than the others, all of which are of equal width. It has hollow spandrels, with two vertical slabs connecting its extrados on either side of the crown with the underside of the deck. This arch is also flanked to each side with a pilaster which continues up to parapet level as a pedestrian refuge. Cantilevered refuges also project from the face of each parapet over the remaining piers. The parapets have been cast with vertically fluted panels along their outside faces. A slightly advanced string course also runs along their base and they terminate at both ends in advanced piers. The actual viaduct is c.120m long but its south end continues for a further 100m under the south most three arches of viaduct HB21/10/001A. A modern footbridge also now crosses the river through the middle arch.


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 bridge was constructed between 1931 and 1933 to carry the down line from Belfast to Larne over the glen. The same line is also carried over the Glenville Road, a short distance to the south, on a single-span concrete bridge (HB21/10/001C). The up line is carried on the original masonry bridge (HB21//10/002). This section of line opened in January 1934. In 1999, Translink began work on repairing the viaduct as part of the reopening of the Belfast-Antrim line which had closed to passengers in 1978. This entailed 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 trademark utilitarian style of the LMS (NCC) and is a distinctive feature of the landscape hereabouts. It was part of the 1930s Greenisland Loop Scheme, the largest civil engineering project of its day in the British Isles and which also brought much needed employment to the area during its construction. Its scale and massing illustrates the new technology of reinforced-concrete, albeit in mimicry of its masonry antecedents. This viaduct is adjacent to an even larger one (HB21/10/001A) and is also functionally associated with three single-span across the Glenville Road to the south (HB21/10/001C-E).

General Comments

Date of Survey

23 November 2008