|The Somerset & Dorset Railway was leased jointly from 1875
by the London & South Western and Midland Railways. It continued to be
managed as a separate organisation until 1930, when the London, Midland &
Scottish Railway took responsibility for operations and locomotives, and the
Southern for signalling and civil engineering.
The railway's 1874 extension to Bath included three viaducts at Shepton Mallet. All three were built for a single track, but were widened on the west side when the line was doubled between Shepton Mallet and Binegar in 1892.
The largest of the three is Charlton Viaduct, which was a short distance north of Shepton Mallet station. This is 317 yards long and has 27 segmental arches, with 30 feet span. Its geometry is unusual in that the viaduct is on a curve and dips to a low point in the middle. The nearest pier in the photograph is a king pier, wider than the others and with a pilaster. There are two of these. This is the eighteenth pier from the north end of the viaduct; the other is the ninth. The length of the viaduct is such that these were considered necessary to resist the thrust of the arches. On the east side of the viaduct every third pier is buttressed.
The viaduct partly collapsed in a storm in February 1946 which may have been brought about by lack of maintenance and over-loading during the Second World War. It was repaired using concrete, the work being completed in July 1946. Arches on the newer, west side have been rebuilt with concrete rings, and the stone half of the pier by road has been reinforced with concrete.
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This page was created 20 April 2010