Built as the first railway bridge to cross the Derwent on the North Eastern Railway's Consett branch, the viaduct had to be approved by the Admiralty since it crossed navigbable waters. The bridge linked two considerable lengths of embankment carrying the railway across the Tyne flood plain from Scotswood Bridge to the eastern slopes of the Derwent valley. Constructed of sandstone and with three 60 feet arches, the viaduct has not seen a train since the railway closed completely on November 11 1963, although goods trains continued to run from 1954 when the final passenger services ceased up the valley to Blackhill.
The line was originally single from north of Swalwell station to Lockhaugh Junction at Rowlands Gill (connecting the branch to the Lilley Drift Colliery ), but was doubled in 1908 together with the viaducts at Swalwell and Lockhaugh and the road bridge at Swalwell. Dismantled in 1964/65 the re-claimed railway trackbed became the Derwent Walk in 1972 thanks to Durham County Council. The railway viaduct is still crossable on foot from where there are views up and down the Derwent.