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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:

Date of Construction:
1860 - 1879

Address :
Railway Viaduct Crawfordsburn Country Park Crawfordsburn Bangor Co Down


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
27/01/1975 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J4654 8178

Owner Category


Exterior Description And Setting

A five-arch stone and brick viaduct carries the double-track Belfast-Bangor railway high over Crawfordsburn Glen. The abutments and piers are of rock-faced sandstone blocks laid to regular courses and embellished with rusticated, margined and vee-jointed quoins. The slender piers are slightly tapered to all sides. A moulded sandstone string course runs around the tops of the abutments and piers at arch spring level. There are buttresses to the ends of both abutments, detailed as the piers. The arches are of equal size and semicircular profile. Footpaths run under the first, fourth and fifth arches from the west end, and the river also flows under the fourth arch. The arch voussoirs are detailed as the arch/pier quoins and the soffits are of brick. The spandrels are of random sandstone blocks. A cut sandstone string course runs along the base of the parapet and continues as copings to the wing walls. The deck is cantilevered out to each side in reinforced concrete, with a lattice-steel handrail along both sides. The railings terminate in sandstone terminal piers detailed as the abutments and piers. Wing walls, detailed as the spandrels, curve out at both ends. The sandstone copings to the NE wall have been replaced with cast concrete blocks. A metal sign on one of the piers records this as bridge no.363. Close to the east end of the viaduct is a single arched underpass with detailing similar to viaduct. North side has stone retaining wing walls and replacement reconstituted stone parapet; arch blocked up. South side not viewed. Setting Crawfordsburn Glen is a small wooded valley leading toward the sea. There is a small river running through it and it forms part of Crawfordsburn Country Park.


Lanyon, Charles

Historical Information

Although the railway arrived in Holywood from Belfast in 1848, it was not until 1862 that the Belfast, Holywood & Bangor Railway (BHBR) began construction of the Holywood-Bangor section on which this bridge is located. Because of land access difficulties and extensive rock blasting, it took three years to complete, not opening until 19 May 1865. This viaduct was the single biggest structure on its course. The line's consultant architect was Charles Lanyon, and it was probably he who designed this viaduct. The viaduct is shown on some versions of the 1858 OS six-inch map, but it should be noted that such maps were re-engraved some years after their original publication to take account of this new line. The railway was not in existence in 1858 despite what some versions of this map may show. When the line opened, the Belfast & County Down Railway (BCDR) sold their Belfast-Holywood section to the BHBR. In 1873, the entire line was leased back to the BCDR and transferred outright to them in 1884. In 1948, the line was taken over by the Ulster Transport Authority and then by Northern Ireland Railways in 1968. It is now operated by Translink. Originally the line was a single track but it was eventually doubled. The width of the original abutments was such, however, that no widening of the bridge was necessary. The original footplate outriggers were probably added at that time. In 1978-79, the deck was renovated and the present cantilevered sections probably date from then. References Primary sources 1. PRONI OS/6/3/1/2. Second edition OS six-inch map, Co Down sheet 1 (1858). Secondary sources: 1. Patterson, E.M. The Belfast and County Down Railway (Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1958). 2. Green, E.R.R. The Industrial Archaeology of County Down (Belfast: HMSO, 1963). 3. McCutcheon, W.A. The Industrial Archaeology of Northern Ireland (Belfast: HMSO, 1980).

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form F. Structural System H-. Alterations detracting from building J. Setting

Historic Interest

Z. Rarity X. Local Interest V. Authorship


A five-arch masonry railway viaduct built for the Belfast, Holywood & Bangor Railway in the early 1860s to designs by Charles Lanyon. Along with the Craigmore and Randalstown Viaducts, it is one of the most notable railway structures in the entire Province. Its proportions, quality of its stonework and attention to detail make it of high architectural merit. The use of brick soffits reflects the shift away from entirely stone soffits (as found, for example in the 1830s bridges on the Belfast-Lisburn line). The projecting footplates are an addition which contributes to the bridge’s historical interest (the doubling of the line). The viaduct is of national interest as an outstanding example of mid 19th century railway architecture.

General Comments

Date of Survey

09 June 2010