THE FACIT BRANCH: ROCHDALE TO BACUP
The collapse and demolition of the Roch Viaduct
After complete closure of the Facit Branch in 1967 and removal of the rails work began on the demolition of Roch Viaduct. Although the viaduct had proved troublesome to build, it was spectacularly obliging when its demolition was in hand. On 11 July 1972 when contractors were conducting a test explosion on one arch a chain reaction was set off, and 11 arches unexpectedly collapsed, fracturing gas and water mains and blocking Entwisle Road in the process, as seen here on the following day.
Photo by Ian G Holt
At its south end the viaduct crossed the River Roch, and debris from the collapse can be seen here in the river on the day after the incident.
Photo by Ian G Holt
The unexpected collapse of much of the Roch Viaduct on 11 July 1972 was halted at the pier on the north side of Entwisle Road. A few days later, contractors blew up the remaining north end of the viaduct. The following series of photographs were taken on that day. In this photograph the remaining north end of the viaduct is seen; tons of sand have been dumped in Entwisle Road to cushion
the fall of masonry.
The north end of the viaduct is seen shortly before it was blown up. Entwisle Road runs along the far side of the fence.
....and continues to fall.
....one arch fell against the massive pier on the north side of Entwisle Road; it rocked alarmingly towards the photographer....
...but refused to budge, standing defiant where it had halted the collapse of the viaduct
a few days earlier.
A fire appliance is in attendance and, inevitably, the incident has drawn a crowd of onlookers. Health and safety in 1972 was not an issue and little attempt is made to keep the onlookers back. A sole policeman keeps a watchful eye.
A view of the defiant pier from Ramsay Street.
The building on the right was initially repaired but later demolished.
The final pier stands defiant.
Photo by Tom Hernon from his Ipernity photo gallery
Site of Roch Viaduct in 2016
Looking north-east along Entwisle Road, Rochdale in June 2016. The 18-arch Roch Viaduct, on the Facit Branch between Rochdale and Wardleworth stations, crossed Entwisle Road, about 25yd ahead, immediately beyond the junction with Ramsay Street (nameplate on the building, far left).
Looking north-west in June 2016 along the course of the Roch Viaduct. The man about 50yd ahead beside the bus shelters is walking along Entwisle Road at the point where the viaduct crossed over – and where photos from summer 1972 show a blockage by debris when the viaduct unexpectedly collapsed. Beyond Entwisle Road the grassed space corresponds to the north-western end
of the viaduct.
Looking south-east along the course of Roch Viaduct, which carried the Rochdale – Bacup railway. The line closed to all traffic in 1967; the viaduct was demolished in 1972; and this view, from June 2016, is seen from the point where the viaduct began. The 18-arch viaduct was 270yd long. It crossed Entwisle Road (identified by the silver car and bus shelters) and the River Roch, and ended where Roch Wood can be seen on the skyline.
Photo by Alan Young