Centre piece of Newport, the railway viaduct that once carried steam trains through Newport on their way to Achill, is now preserved as a walkway for native and visitor, to enjoy. It spans the Blackoak River, contains seven arches and cost £7,640 to build. The first train crossed the bridge in February, 1894, and it was finally closed in September 1937.
The viaduct is constructed of local red sandstone with some limestone facings. At night both it and the nearby 19th century road bridge are flood lit as is St. Patrick's Church on Barrack Hill above the town.
Over 1000 men were employed in he late 1880's during the construction of the rail line from Westport to Achill Island. Given the nature of the hilly, boggy drumlin countryside, much cutting, filling and building of small stone bridges was necessary and today these provide an architecture that enhances the countryside.
Much of the railway station is no longer standing but the present Oratory Chapel was once part of a busy bustling station. Two rail tunnels to the south also remind one of the Midland and Great Western Railway that once passed through Newport.
This essay was written by JPMcDermott of the Newport Historical Society. It was sourced from documents in The National Archives as well as The National Library. Other source documents can be found in The County Library, Castlebar, County Mayo.
The author may be contacted at the email address below.