Cefn Viaduct and the Panorama

cefn viaduct and the panorama

A morning walk around Cefn Country park , taking in the Cefn Viaduct.
Cefn Viaduct was built in 1845/46

 It measures one thousand five hundred and eight feet in length, and stands one hundred and forty-seven feet above the level of the river. The structure is supported by nineteen arches with sixty foot spans.

In 1845 rival schemes were put forward for railway lines to join Chester with Shrewsbury.

Promoters of the plan to link Shrewsbury to Chester via Ruabon had to work quickly to get their scheme moving. Instructions for the notices and plans were only given on the 7th November and they had to be deposited with the clerk of Peace by the 30th November 1845. Hostility from objecting landowners meant that Robertson had to survey the land by night. One irate squire expressed a wish that someone would ‘throw Robertson and his theodolite into the canal’.

Henry Robertson told a Parliamentary Committee of the advantage of providing a railway line that would open up coalfields of Ruabon and Wrexham to markets at Chester, Birkenhead and Liverpool in the north and to Shrewsbury and other Shropshire towns on the south side. The Parliamentary Committee agreed with him and the bill received Royal Assent on 30th June 1845.

The Shrewsbury and Chester Railway Company made good progress with construction work and the line to Ruabon from the north was opened in November 1846. Henry Robertson completed plans for crossing the River Dee at Cefn Mawr and the railway contractor Thomas Brassey was commissioned to construct the viaduct, taking two years to complete. The ceremony of keying the last stone of the viaduct was performed by Mr. W.Ormsby Gore on the 14th August 1848 and the railway was opened connecting to Chirk Viaduct built at the same time.Chirk Viaduct and Auqeduct

What was instrumental to the ability to complete the construction of both the Cefn Viaduct and the Chirk Viaduct in only two years was the Shropshire Union Canal or what is now called the Llangollen Canal for the shipment of sandstone form the quarries of Cefn Mawr on the north side of the River Dee valley across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to the south side and onwards to the Ceiriog Valley.