Network Rail has given the Settle – Carlisle railway line a £1m Christmas present with the rebuilding of three vital bridges.
All three bridges allow farmers access to their land either side of the railway. Two of them are between Lazonby and Armathwaite stations, while the third is in the Cumwhinton area.
Network Rail route director Jo Kaye said; “They are tiny compared to the grandeur of other bridges such as Ribblehead Viaduct, but they are no less important. We have a responsibility to look after them so the line can continue to play its vital role in the economy of the UK.”
As well as carrying passenger services, the Settle – Carlisle line is used by trains delivering coal to power stations in Yorkshire and the Midlands, and has been essential for maintaining supplies as demand for electricity soared during the cold weather.
Mrs Kaye continued: “Given the appalling weather that the area suffered, it is a credit to our principal contractor C Spencer Ltd that they delivered the work on schedule, allowing normal train services to resume as expected.”
Each bridge had a metal deck supported on stone walls but the existing structures had become life-expired and needed to be replaced.
Network Rail took away the track over each bridge before removing the metalwork. It then cleared vegetation from the area and carried out repairs to the stonework before replacing the bridge with new concrete units and installing new drainage.
The railway lines were then replaced so trains could run again.
The majority of the work was carried out over successive weekends in November and December when the line was closed to trains, except for the work at Hungriggs, south of Armathwaite, which was completed between Christmas and the New Year.