Passengers travelling on the line from South Croydon to Uckfield can look forward to travelling safely over the Oxted Viaduct for decades to come after a £10.5m upgrade.
Engineers have been working around the clock to repair and strengthen the Victorian structure since summer 2020.
Katie Frost, Network Rail’s Sussex route director, which also covers Surrey and South London, said: “The Oxted Viaduct is one of the most iconic railway structures in the south of England. Working on it and protecting such an important part of railway heritage has been a real honour.
“It also remains a vital piece of the operational railway today, so while it was great to protect our heritage, it was also essential to keep lines open and trains running safely and reliably.
“A massive thank you to our railway neighbours who have had to put up with noise from our work over the past few years.”
Chris Fowler, customer services director for Southern, said: “This is good news for our customers and for the many admirers of this iconic Victorian viaduct.”
Twelve roller bearings, which support the viaduct’s weight and allow the bridge to expand in the heat of summer and contract in the cold of winter, have been replaced. This element of the work involved lifting the viaduct’s supporting columns, each weighing up to 175 tonnes, before sliding the bearings into place.
Repairs have been made to the brickwork on the supporting columns and arches. Steelwork has been cleaned back to the bare metal, treated, and then repainted using 12,000 litres of protective paint. The old timber bridge deck was also replaced with new easier to maintain materials.
Oxted Viaduct was built in 1881 and the bridge carries two railway lines over the A25 road and the River Eden on the line running from South Croydon to Uckfield.