Two remarkable photos taken in 1963 of the abandoned Craighead Railway Viaduct. Both photos were taken by John Robin, famed for taking photos of a full series of local bridges.
Both photos look Northwards towards Bothwell, photographed from the Blantyre side. The first shows the abandoned Railway iron structure. The second, is a rarer photograph of the top railway itself, which looks wide enough for small vehicles to pass over. As well as the top railway, the viaduct contained a pedestrian walkway or catwalk underneath (and immediately on top of the pillars), entered from arches in the stone abutments on either riverbank. The height of this structure made it a common place for suicide attempts.
In 1952 the Railway created a terminus at Bothwell, due to the deteriorating condition of the Viaduct. For safety reasons trains were not permitted on the structure from that time with British Railways making that decision rather than spend considerable money in repairing the viaduct. Trains did run, but only freight for a couple more years with the regular passenger service terminated. By the time of these photos, the trains had stopped running.
I’ve spoken to a few people who recall pushing their bikes over the catwalk and with nervous post war moments when their bike wheels often fell through the gaps in the planking! In 1955 when the footpath closed, a few people decided to be adventurous and used the disused railway tracks themselves above as the footpath, although they were removed for safety reasons in 1956, replaced with the top pedestrian walkway pictured. There was once 5 pillars, but 3 were demolished in April 2008 on the Blantyre side, leaving only the 3 on the Bothwell side today, including the abutment.