Opened on 1st November 1876, the 14-mile Wye Valley Railway crossed the river three times – at Monmouth, Tintern and Redbrook. The latter involved a single-track curved structure of five girder spans, perched on four pairs of cast iron columns. The Penallt viaduct “was sometimes referred to, quite wrongly, by some local Victorian newspapers as Redbrook railway bridge” (The Wye Valley Railway and the Coleford Branch – Handley and Dingwall). It carried the line for around 300 feet over the England/Wales border between Redbrook Station – noted for its floral displays – and Penallt Halt which opened in 1931 to serve the small village. The Boat Inn sits in the viaduct’s shadow.
In 1955, a footbridge was added on the west side, offering people a safe alternative to crossing the river along the railway. Four years later, passenger services came to an end.
Despite carrying its last freight on 6th January 1964, the viaduct remains a notable feature within the local landscape although it is now in need of considerable maintenance work (more of this below). Currently Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire county councils are its joint custodians.
- AONB group uses 2013 raft race to promote restoration project
- OPUS appointed to assess viaduct strengthening possibilities
- Pictures of viaduct in flood conditions
- Railway Roundabout film of Wye Valley Railway (1959)
The last passenger train ran on 3rd January 1959, the occasion being marked by a BBC film and also by photographs taken by enthusiasts (click each picture for a larger version):-