Network Rail invests £17m in Cheshire bridge and viaduct this February .(Network Rail)

Network Rail invests £17m in Cheshire bridge and viaduct this February

(Network Rail Picture)

Network Rail is investing £17m to protect Cheshire’s most iconic railway bridges for decades to come.

The vital refurbishment will make the railway safer and more reliable for passengers, motorists, pedestrians and canal users but the scale of the work means the line from Crewe to Manchester and Sandbach to Northwich will be closed between 13 and 24 February while the improvements are made.

As part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan the Grade-II listed viaducts at Holmes Chapel and Peover – two of Cheshire’s most well-known architectural landmarks – are receiving a full makeover, including the removal of water stains on the walls, brickwork repairs and waterproofing.

At the same time, Network Rail engineers will undertake strengthening work to the Hungerford Road bridge in Crewe, Shipbrook Road bridge in Rudheath and to the Whatcroft underbridge and the Trent and Mersey Canal bridge in Davenham.

Network Rail and the train operators which run services on the line – Arriva Trains Wales, Northern Rail, CrossCountry and Virgin Trains – have all worked closely to run as many trains as possible during the work. Some journeys will take longer than usual and some will be replaced by regular bus services.

Terry Strickland, area director for Network Rail, said: “While the work will cause some disruption to passengers’ journeys for 11 days, Network Rail has worked with the train operators to ensure all of this work can be conducted at the same time, saving £500,000 of taxpayers’ money and avoiding longer-term disruption.

“I’d like to thank passengers in advance for their patience while the work takes place.”

A spokesperson on behalf of Virgin Trains, Northern Rail, CrossCountry trains and Arriva Trains said: “We understand that improvement works impact on passengers. This investment is vital and will deliver real benefits in helping to provide customers with a more reliable railway. All affected train operating companies are working closely with Network Rail to ensure alternative travel arrangements are in place wherever possible and to keep disruption to a minimum whilst this important work is carried out. Our advice to all customers travelling between Manchester and Crewe is to check their journey before they travel.

During the 11-day closure services to Manchester from London and South Wales (and vice-versa) will temporarily by-pass Crewe and be diverted via Macclesfield and Stockport. Local rail services will also be affected between Wilmslow, Stockport and Crewe. Replacement bus services will be provided and alternative routes will be signposted for all passengers who are affected. (Full details are provided below.)

Passengers are advised to check before they travel with their train operator or at www.nationalrail.co.uk.

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