Two railway bridges in Cheshire have been upgraded and will improve freight services along the route.
Last week, the Middlewich branch line reopened after a £4.5m project was completed to rebuild 2 bridges.
An 800 tonne crane was needed to lift the new bridges over the Trent & Mersey canal and Whatcroft Hall lane into place.
The railway was closed for 5 days while the work was completed.
Heavy axle freight capability has now been restored to the route following the bridge replacements.
Oluwole Osunneye, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “Work to replace the Trent & Mersey Canal railway bridge is part of a £4.5m investment, which will mean that the structure remains safe and reliable for the economically important freight services that use it for many years to come.
“During a closure of the line, we’ve now installed the new bridge deck, and I’d like to thank freight operators, motorists and local people for their patience.”
Michael Leadbetter, planning & resourcing director for Freightliner, said: “The Middlewich branch line is a key route for freight traffic moving between the Peak District, the markets in the North West and the Midlands. Allowing heavy freight trains to access this route is crucial to the success of moving aggregates on these corridors, which will only become more important with increasing volumes for HS2 and other customers. Freightliner welcomes Network Rail’s ongoing investment in this route to allow these critical flows to take place.”
Quentin Hedderly, network capacity manager at DB Cargo UK, said: “We are pleased that the work to reconstruct the railway bridge in Northwich has been successfully completed in line with the expected timescales. The replacement of this asset enables Network Rail to restore heavy axle-weight capability to the route which will allow more freight to be transported by rail across this line in the coming months.”
Ian Kapur, head of strategic access planning for GB Railfreight Ltd, said: “GB Railfreight is very pleased that Network Rail has now carried out its strengthening works on the Trent & Mersey Canal railway bridge on the Middlewich route. This will ensure that the new-to-rail HS2 aggregate flows from the Peak District quarries serving the various receiving terminals with building materials can operate with full loads and keep even more freight movements off the road.”
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